Current issue: 54(2)
For biomass forestry in the inland parts of Southern and Central Finland, the obvious choice of willow species is Salix myrsinifolia. However, selection of clones of indigenous species has not yet been completed and more research and selection is needed. In the Piipsanneva old peatland trial, indigenous species of willow, mostly clones of S. myrsinifolia and S. phylicifolia, were compared in terms of biomass production, coppicing, height growth and diameter distributions. In this trial, the mean annual biomass production was not particularly high; more important results were attained in the ranking of clones. The trial strengthens the hypothesis that, over the long-term, the biomass production of S. myrsinifolia is higher than that of S. phylicifolia. It was supposed that behind the highest yield there was a clone with uniform quality, one whose diameter distribution would be narrow and positively skewed. Comparisons of parameters of Weibull functions showed that the distributions of the best clones were wide, indicating that those clones use the whole growth space better than those with narrow distribution.
Possibilities of developing suitable willow (Salix spp.) clones for short-rotation forestry on mined peatlands in the north-western area of Finland were studied in a field experiment in which 300 willow clones were tested during 1985–87. Most of the tested clones started to grow from cuttings on limed and fertilized peat soil. Salix viminalis L. clones of southern origin had a higher leafless above ground biomass production than the well adapted control clone and the local Finnish willows, but their winter hardiness was not satisfactory. The growth habit of some southern willows was also better than that of the control clone. It was also possible to select clones with good sprouting capacity. There were few Salix myrsinifolia Calisb. clones of Finnish origin, which had better cold tolerance than all other willows tested and higher biomass production than that of the control clone. The most critical factor to be selected for this is the optimal combination of winter hardiness and biomass production. This is attempted by selecting clones on the basis of this experiment for a breeding program.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Willow (Salix sp.) species and clones have been selected in Finland, originally for basket willow husbandry, since 1910's. Screening for biomass willows started in 1973 by the Foundation for Forest Tree Breeding. Biomass willow research for energy started in 1978. The objective of the study was, based on theoretical background, on historical record of Finnish willow research between 1910–80 and on analysis of the Finnish biomass willow research of the 1980s, a further selection of exotic and indigenous willows for energy and chemicals.
Swedish selection of 63 exotics, mainly of Salix viminalis L. and S. burjatica Nazarov, was screened in Kompparnäs willow research site in the southern coast of Finland in 1983–89. S. viminalis showed both high yield potential and good crop certainty. The yield variation in S. burjatica were big due to rust (Melampsora sp.) infection followed by lowered winter hardiness. Three recommendable S. viminalis clones for Southern Finland were found.
Finnish indigenous species were screened based on collection (375 clones) in 1974–74 of the Foundation for Forest Tree Breeding, and the Finnish 4H-organization (566 clones) in 1978–79 in test sites in Suomusjärvi, Nurmijärvi, Kannus and Haapavesi. Salix myrsinifolia Salisb. was most productive of the indigenous willows. Five recommendable clones were selected. The second most productive indigenous was S. phylicifolia, with three recommendable clones. Based on willow hybridization studies in the Finnish Forest Research Institute, a considerable additional selection effect, boosted by heterosis, was found from the progenies. Further intraspecific crossings of geographically distant clones of S. myrsinifolia are recommended.
Based on the results, S. viminalis is recommended for practical biomass forestry application in the southernmost agroclimatic zone of Finland. S. myrsinifolia is recommended for further research and development in the other zones.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.