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Designing a profitable agroforestry system with poplar HD

Léo Godard

Today, the decrease in new poplar planting is a very worrying factor for the industry. Over the past twenty years, the rate of poplar replanting in France has decreased from 2.3 million plants per year in the early 1990s to less than 600,000 plants per year in 2013. Today in France, more than one in three parcels is not reforested. This has become very insufficient to ensure the future supply of processing industries. The first signs of supply stress are already being felt such as poorer quality and quantity of log. At the same time, an increasing demand for export in Europe (Italy, Spain), South- East Asia and India adds to this stress. If the rate of replanting does not increase, and an evolution of the poplar sector is notquickly engaged, the industries are expected to experience a break in their supplies at the beginning of the 2020s. In this context, agroforestry is seen as an alternative source of raw material for the poplar industry, and a good opportunity of diversification for farmers. However, agroforestry on cropland faces a major issue of competition between trees and crops for light, water and nutrients which can strongly affect the profitability. Proper design has to be implemented to allow effective complementarity between both components of the system.

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