Populus Trials for Biofuels Production in Western North Carolina - NC State University

Western North Carolina represents an important opportunity to develop a cellulosic biofuels industry where significant portions of the feedstock portfolio are short rotation woody crops (SRWC), especially genetically improved clones of Populus species including hybrid poplar and cottonwood.  The western third of North Carolina has large acreage of marginal lands, much of which is in pasture or fallow fields in which SRWCs can be produced while avoiding use of food producing lands.

The project will establish two field trials in western North Carolina representing a range in elevations to monitor growth, survival, and other parameters for two growing seasons of Populus clones and several native hardwoods. The work will use the same research design previously used in eastern North Carolina to allow analysis across all sites and development of a geographic growth model of Populus in North Carolina.