Exploring Native and Exotic Alder Hybridization
Hybrid poplars are more productive than naturally occurring poplars. This research seeks to determine whether species hybridization in alder provides a similar improvement in yield as it does in poplar.
Developing new hybrid strains of alder that can be managed by coppice regeneration would widen the range of sites that can be used to economically produce biomass energy feedstock.
Field trials of four alder taxa were planted at the Jefferson Demonstration Site in 2012. The alder taxa planted include native red alder and three inter-specific alder taxa (red alder in separate crosses with European black alder, Andean alder, and Nepalese alder). The Jefferson trial has established very well with at least one hybrid outperforming the native red alder.
Similar trials will be established at the Pilchuck Demonstration Site in 2014. Production traits and adaptability traits will be evaluated in these trials throughout the AHB project.