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POPCAN: Genetic Improvement of Poplar Trees as a Canadian Bioenergy Feedstock

2010 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition – Forestry and Environment
Genome Centre(s):
Genome British Columbia
Project Leader(s):
Carl Douglas (University of British Columbia), Shawn Mansfield (University of British Columbia)
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
Project Description: 

Clean energy from the poplar tree. While the Government of  Canada has recently mandated a five percent renewable fuel content in gasoline,  current production, which is almost exclusively derived from agricultural residues, is  insufficient to produce the requisite volume. It will, therefore, be necessary to develop  new feedstocks for biofuel production, the majority of which is expected to come from  woody plants and trees. With funding from Genome Canada, scientists are studying the  genetic underpinnings of tree growth as well as the traits associated with biofuel  suitability in two species of poplar. Their overall aim is to develop short­rotation, fastgrowing trees that can grow in a variety of climates across Canada with wood that can  be more readily converted to biofuel while minimizing the ecological footprint. A social research component is working with scientists to examine the social and  economic issues associated with establishing breeding programs for fast-­rotation poplar  plantations.