A group of poplar producers in Granada is taking the first steps towards the creation of an association for poplar eco-producers. It will be sponsored by the LIFE Wood for Future programme and will be financed by the European Union, a new tool for the promotion of a poplar bioeconomy in the area.
The association will be the first in Spain and aims at training poplar producers in Sustainable Forest Management and, as a result, in obtaining a better price for their products.
The creation of this eco-producer association will facilitate the implementation of new forestry practices, and so will improve the quality of the product, as well as carrying out preventive silviculture.
It will also allow obtention of financial aid from public administrations and the European Union. Finally, it will foster the participation of poplar eco-producers in innovation and improvement projects for their plantations and will help them negotiate the sale of their production from a stronger position.
First steps taken
As a first step, producers took part in a work session organised by COSE, (the Spanish Confederation of Silviculturists), IFAPA (Institute of Agriculture and Fishery Research and Training), and UGR (Granada University).
During the work session, Patricia Gomez, COSE’s manager, and Eduardo Montero, representative of Navarra Forest Association explained the administrative procedures that poplar producers must follow to create the association, prepare a common management plan and obtain the group’s Sustainable Forest Certification that will allow them to obtain greater profitability from their crops.
Benefits and requirements
LIFE Wood for Future will take care of the procedures and expenses derived from the constitution of the association and will offer various economic incentives to the association members.
For their part, eco-producers are required to: maintain a frame (distance between trees) of 5×5 or 6×4 meters; use certified plants from local nurseries; burying pruning debris and stumps into the soil to nourish it and retain the captured carbon; use ecological fertilizers and, only in case of extreme need, phytosanitary products; and finally maintain a vegetation band of poplars, shrubs, or herbaceous plants on the boundaries of the plot.
As compensation during the first year, they will receive up to 1,400 euros per hectare to buy and plant poplars, maintain the vegetation band, and crush the stumps. In the following years, they will receive up to 400 euros per hectare for land work, pruning, and crushing of pruning remains.
Those producers in the province who want to join but have their trees already planted may join the association too, given that, until the next felling, they will be able to adapt their production to sustainable management and enter the voluntary emissions market, the so-called ‘carbon farming’, that is, to receive money for the CO2 captured by their crops, about 22 tons per hectare.