Charting a greener future: IPC27 and the role of fast-growing trees

ProPopulus Team

The 27th Session of the International Commission on Poplars and Other Fast-Growing Trees Sustaining People and the Environment (IPC27), themed “Poplars and Other Fast-Growing Trees for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation – Pathways to Climate Resilience and Carbon Neutral Societies,” will take place from October 21-25, 2024, at the Palais des congrès in Bordeaux, France.

The provisional IPC27 program includes a Pre-Session Study Tour in France from October 17-20, 2024, and a Post-Session Study Tour in Italy from October 27-29, 2024.

IPC National Commissions are encouraged to submit the names and affiliations of their representatives and alternates to IPC-Secretariat@fao.org. The session, convened under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution, will be open to all Commission members and observers.

What is the IPC

The International Commission on Poplars and Other Fast-Growing Trees Sustaining People and the Environment (IPC) is a treaty-based statutory body under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) framework. With a mission to alleviate poverty and enhance ecosystem services globally, the IPC promotes sustainable management of fast-growing trees.

Established in 1947 to restore Europe’s devastated landscapes post-World War II, the IPC now boasts 38 member nations across five continents. Notable achievements include the development of outgrower schemes over 450,000 hectares in India and contributing to China’s ‘Great Green Wall,’ which combats desertification over 4,500 kilometers of northern China.

The IPC’s success is driven by facilitating technical exchanges on research and sustainable management of fast-growing forests and trees. The upcoming 27th Session of the International Commission on Poplars and Other Fast-Growing Trees Sustaining People and the Environment (IPC27) exemplifies this commitment.

Fast-growing trees: the key to sustainability

Fast-growing trees (FGT), characterized by a mean annual increment (MAI) of at least 10m³ ha⁻¹, are crucial to both global industrial value chains and the livelihoods of smallholders and family farmers. In 2020, planted forests accounted for 46% of the global industrial roundwood demand, underscoring their significance in sustainable wood production and the bioeconomy. Enhancing knowledge and policy on managing FGTs is essential for their expanded use in ecosystem restoration, land management, and increasing wood fiber supply.

IPC27 will be the first in-person session since the approval of the IPC’s new strategy. The event promises to unveil the outcomes of new Working Parties and gather experts to discuss various aspects of fast-growing tree species management.

IPC Action Plan 2023-2024

  • Establish (specific) membership in all IPC Member Countries and seek country-based information;
  • Focus on networking, including follow-up of the AGROPOPTECH initiative in the EU dealing with agroforestry about the production of engineered wood products (EWP);
  • Exchange of scientific and technical information through specific interaction with national and regional (research) projects like BIOPOPTECH in Spain;
  • Producing a white paper together with ProPopulus on new opportunities for poplar plantations, globally and with a focus on Europe;
  • Seek active participation from the extended geographical and fast-growing tree species under the new scope of the IPC;
  • Develop a database on both reviewed papers and grey literature relevant for WP-PRO;
  • Linking with other Working Parties, for example on the potential of new poplar hybrids for semi-arid and colder regions with the Working Party on Genetic Resources (WP-GEN), on the potential to increase wood resources through fast-growing trees in agroforestry with the Working Party on Policy and Livelihood (WP-POL) and the complementarity with interaction with environmental challenges with the Working Party on Environmental and Ecosystem Services (WP-ENV);
  • Check the need to update the FAO/IPC Book “Poplars and Willows in the World”, Chapter 10: Properties, processing, and utilization.

The significance of hosting IPC27 in France

France has been pivotal in the International Poplar Commission since its inception. Following the creation of the first national poplar commission in France in 1946, the country was a founding member of the IPC in 1947, alongside Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. The 27th session in October 2024, over six decades after the 9th session in 1957, highlights France’s longstanding commitment to this international institution.

France’s poplar sector is robust, with approximately 200,000 hectares of planted poplars producing 1.4 million m³ of timber annually, constituting one-third of the country’s hardwood harvest. Over 150,000 private owners manage these plantations, spread across valleys nationwide. Poplar wood is primarily used for manufacturing plywood panels and lightweight wooden packaging, with exports to Italy and Spain.

The poplar industry in France is coordinated by the National Poplar Council, which includes representatives from wood production, cooperatives, forestry experts, and processing industries. This council is the main liaison with the Ministry of Agriculture on poplar issues. It aims to support the development of poplar production within the sustainable forest management framework.

Join us at IPC27

In a world facing urgent environmental challenges, IPC27 will unite experts under the theme of using fast-growing trees for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The session will spotlight the critical role of these trees in fostering sustainability and resilience. Pre-registration and abstract submissions for IPC27 are now open. Join us in Bordeaux to contribute to and learn from the collective efforts towards a carbon-neutral future through sustainable tree management.

For more information and to pre-register, visit the IPC27 webpage. For any inquiries, please contact IPC-Secretariat@fao.org.

More information about the event here:

Provisional agenda  click here

Registration Session in Bordeaux – click here

Registration Pre-Study tour in France –  click here

Registration Post-Study tour in Italy – click here

Practical Information –  click here

Call for Abstracts – click here

Provisional Post-Study Tour Program  click here

Provisional Pre-Study Tour Program – click here

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