The Burgundy Franche-Comté National Center for Forest Property (CNPF) is encouraging the plantation of poplar groves as well as the replanting after harvesting among forest owners in the region through information meetings on poplar trees.
Today, in Burgundy Franche-Comté, about one in three hectares is not replanted after harvest. The CNPF has found among other reasons, that costs or know-how are some of the causes for the decline in forest owners’ motivation to reforest. The rate of poplar replanting has gone from 2.3 million plants per year in the early 1990s to 900,000 plants per year in 2018/2019.
In mid-September a discussion meeting with forest owners took place in Channay, where a field visit to several poplar plantations was scheduled. The group also visited the Brugère Establishment in Châtillon-sur-Seine, a manufacturer of beech and poplar panels and peeled veneer.
The CNPF is a national public institution in charge of developing the sustainable management of private forests: some 3.5 million forest owners for 12.6 million hectares, or about 23% of the national territory. Placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, its main missions are the coordination of the management of private forests, advice desk, and training but also the consolidation of private property.
Poplar in Burgundy
Poplar represents about 12,000 hectares of plantations in Burgundy Franche-Comté, distributed mainly in the alluvial valleys of Saône, Loire, Yonne, and their tributaries. According to the CNFP website Burgundy ranks 8th among the French regions in terms of poplar plantations.
Although poplar plantations are not very representative of the regional forest, the poplar is the majority species in terms of harvest and production. In fact, poplar is the third regional hardwood species harvested, after oak and beech, and represents, after processing, 9% of all hardwood sawing and peeling.
A renewable, natural, and local resource
Poplar stands out from other species due to its growth rate. It has a short production cycle of between 15 and 20 years. Therefore, this species planted in relatively little surface areas, can provide a large volume of wood for multiple uses (light packaging, plywood).
Poplar provides a light and robust material for the future, being a renewable, natural and local resource. Poplar is the main species to produce high-end plywood due to its mechanical properties, its lightness, its light colour and the fact that it is easy to work.
Today, manufacturers are investing in the heart of poplar production areas: in Burgundy Franche-Comté (Lacroix Emballage Group in Saône-et-Loire, the Brugère company in Côte d’Or) but also in the Grand-Est (the Thébault-Drouin tandem (Bois Déroulés de Champagne) and the Spanish Garnica in Aube, the Joubert and Arbor Groups (Leroy Industries) in Marne). Several initiatives in favour of the poplar and its planting can also be cited in France: the Merci le Peuplier Charter (funded by the Regional Councils in Pays de Loire and Grand Est), du Peuplier pour l’avenir (Centre Val de Loire Region), Joubert Valter Peupliers (in Poitou-Charentes/ Nouvelle Aquitaine).