The poplar farming program, the intensive management component of Al-Pac's Zonation Approach, is designed to ensure a guaranteed supply of high-quality fibre close to the mill while providing crop diversification options for local landowners.
The goal of the poplar farm research program is to develop fast-growing, best-adapted, insect- and disease-resistant, high quality trees to combine with the best silvicultural practices. Scientists are testing thousands of different hybrid poplar and aspen trees as part of the research program. Hybrid poplars have been used for windbreaks on the prairies for more than 50 years and planted in the area through the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration.
Hybrid poplars are the result of breeding different poplar species. Hybrids differ significantly from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which have had specific genes inserted into their genome from another individual or species. Alberta-Pacific does not use, or have any plans to use GMOs.
In addition to the tree improvement research, Al-Pac has conducted extensive silvicultural trials to determine the best stock type, storage methods, rooting protocols, site preparation, weed control methods and fertilizer regimes to maximize the growth potential of the selected trees.