This study is a preliminary investigation of market demand for Western Canadian aspen in three major market places, the United States, Japan and Western Europe. As a preliminary investigation, there was no attempt to statistically characterize specifier populations. Rather, through consultations with industry, combined with the author's personal experiences, potential specifiers were identified and selectively interviewed. This process included aspen lumber/boards at various grades, edge-glued panels, veneer, plywood, and laminated veneer lumber. Both structural and non-structural applications were considered.
FERIC evaluated an operation in which mill biosolids were spread in a harvested poplar plantation. The operation was efficient, with spreading costs of $5/wet tonne. Spreading is a beneficial use of biosolids, but must be compared with conventional disposal methods to assess the operation's economics.
Next to trembling aspen, balsam poplar is the most prominent deciduous species in Alberta’s boreal mixed forest. It is commonly found in the prairie forest transition zones throughout the south-central regions of the Boreal forest. While the species is common, it is rarely abundant. Situated mainly in mixed stands on rich soils, common associates to balsam poplar include: white spruce, aspen, paper birch and tamarack. Within Alberta, the species is widespread through Aspen Grove, Mixedwood and Lower Foothills sections of the province’s Boreal Forest Region. Apart from forested land, balsam poplar is also found on abandoned farmland, burned over areas and riverbanks. Trees are medium-sized, 18 to 24 metres tall and 30 to 60 cm in diameter.
Balsam poplar comprises 15.1% of Alberta’s hardwood inventory; about 6% of Alberta’s total forest inventory. Balsam fir is a native tree species to approximately two-thirds of the eastern Boreal forest across Canada. It is quite common in Alberta throughout the Slave Lake area and along the foothills (northern central regions of the province). Balsam fir can be found across a broad range of site conditions, preferring more shaded and competitive conditions. The species is rarely found in pure stands and is typically shorter-lived than the spruces. Balsam fir is a small-to medium-sized tree, 12 to 18 metres tall and 30 to 45 cm in diameter.
On a national level, balsam fir accounts for nearly 12% of the total Canadian forest inventory. Its greatest proportion of total growing stock is located in southeastern Canada, especially in the Maritime Provinces, where it is considered a valuable commercial species. In Alberta, balsam fir accounts for a small percentage of the province’s softwood inventory – approximately 3%.
The fact sheet describes visual, physical and working properties for this species for the wood-consuming value added sector.
There are six species of poplar native to Canada's forests. One of the most abundant and widely used of the species is the aspen poplar (populus Tremuloides). Aspen has become the most desirable species for the production of oriented strandboard (OSB). Certain sections of Alberta and British Columbia have considerable stands of aspen. The aspen stands also contain varying amounts of balsam poplar (populus balsamifera) and black cottonwood (populus trichocarpa) and various hybrids of the three species. Forintek Canada Corp's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was asked by the B.C.Ministry of Forests to establish whether cottonwood could be a suitable furnish for the production of OSB, since it represented a sizeable potential resource in British Columbia. The poplar species are loosely identified by several names and to confirm the actual species we were referred to Mr.Bob Brash, District Manager, Dawson Creek Forest District. Mr.Brash confirmed that the species in question was in fact balsam poplar (populus balsamifera). Balsam poplar is also known as black poplar and balm poplar. An extensive literature search was conducted on the use of balsam poplar/cottonwood in the production of OSB. The literature review and a summary are reported here.
This publication characterizes nine commercial tree species of Alberta. Included are descriptions of the range and volume of each species, their wood properties, and present and potential manufacturing uses.