Raw material for the energy sector and the pulp and wood fiber industry is increasingly needed. A promising way to meet the increasing demands is the establishment of fast growing poplar plantations at commercial scale. The CLAP projects brings together academic expertise with a commercial company marketing Populus cultivars.
Due to the lack of plant material suitable for the local climate and photoperiod, the production of biomass with fast-growing Populus (poplars and aspens) is currently an underutilized resource in the Nordic-Baltic region.
To overcome this hindrance, this project aims at (1) identifying the plant material characteristic(s) that best match the (current and future) climates in different parts of the Nordic-Baltic region; (2) developing efficient plant breeding tools for the rapid production of climate-adapted poplar genotypes; and (3) developing business plans for the case of better plant material and better genotype-site match in the future.
To meet these goals, this project combines field observations along a latitudinal gradient with the development of mechanistic models, genetic and breeding tools, and business plans. This project will bring together major academic expertise in Populus growth, management and molecular breeding research with the commercial company SweTree Technologies AB (STT) dealing with the development and marketing of Populus cultivars.
The CLAP project consists of four subprojects:
- Phenotypic traits, climate and biomass production
- Matching plant traits to climate – a modelling approach
- Genetics and breeding tools
- Implementation and business plan
The organisation of the CLAP project with subprojects.
Expected benefits for the society
A combination of increased energy demand and political decisions, such as the COP21 climate agreement in Paris, has raised the ambitions of European policy-makers to increasingly redirect future energy supply from fossil to renewable energy sources. For example, by 2050, Sweden envisages achieving a sustainable and resource-efficient energy supply and no net emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; and the Swedish government has the ambition to make the vehicle fleet independent of fossil fuel by 2030.
The project addresses biomass from poplars as an opportunity for a bio-based economy in the Nordic-Baltic region and is therefore directly relevant to the above ambitions. The active involvement of stakeholders (forest companies, farmers) will promote a fast economic implementation of the project outcome in the economic sector. This project also will contribute to rapid knowledge transfer from academic research to society, by enhancing the collaboration between academia and industry.