In the last ten years, the demand for poplar plywood has increased notably, and the forecast for demand in the coming years is higher than the expected availability. This makes poplar wood plantations and sustainably managed forests a safe bet for the future.
Poplars have a fast growth rate, and usually are ready for harvesting after 10 to 20 years, depending on the geographical location. It is also a species that adapts extraordinarily to a wide range of climatic conditions or soils. In Europe, poplar plantations are concentrated in France, Spain, Hungary, and Italy.
One of the most important products manufactured from poplar wood is plywood. Poplar plywood is produced in several countries in Southern and Eastern Europe. It is the main species for plywood production in several countries, mainly Spain, Italy, and Hungary.
Currently, there is a soaring demand for poplar plywood in high-end industries like campervans, trains or yachts, and boats. In these industries, it is used for indoor work and furnishing.
Poplar plywood is also highly demanded in the construction and interior design industries. Architects and builders around the world appreciate its mechanical properties and the fact that it is very easy to work with. In addition, poplar is a renewable material with a net positive carbon footprint.
In today’s world, environmentally friendly construction practices that have a minimal impact and leave the smallest possible carbon footprint are a must, and poplar can offer many advantages in terms of energy efficiency.
According to the European Panel Federation (EPF), poplar tree production and transformation can contribute to the European strategic long-term vision for a climate-neutral economy.
The EPF lists seven ways in which using poplar plywood offers benefits to lower building life cycle balance and costs. Here they are:
● Wood, panels, and especially plywood are multi-performing and good quality/price ratio building materials for structural, indoor, or outdoor uses.
● Plywood is very easy to install and has a very good mechanical resistance/weight ratio, which leads to less water and energy consumption for construction.
● Plywood is recommended for modular construction and design. As it can easily be disassembled, the wood can be reused several times. As plywood is easy to maintain, it may support several renovations or finish cycles.
● Some European companies offer poplar sandwich panels that can be used for light-frame construction solutions. These products have both mechanical, insulation, and decorative properties and a much better carbon footprint than alternative materials.
● At the end of its life cycle, plywood can be recycled or used for energy.
● Poplar plywood is produced locally in multiple sites across Europe, reducing the carbon footprint when transporting the product.
● The poplar supply chain has also built other crosswise economies like packaging, paper, or energy.