Selection of species and clones for biomass willow forestry in Finland
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.
Published in 1991