POPCAN: Genetic improvement of poplar trees as a Canadian bioenergy feedstock

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Shawn Mansfield (University of British Columbia)
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada - 2010 Large Scale Applied Research Project Competition
PROJECT END DATE June 30, 2015
ALBERTA’S ROLE Participant

The global exploitation of petroleum reserves has enabled modern industrialization, but the depletion of hydrocarbon reserves presents a significant limitation to current raw material and energy supply. The Canadian Government has established a Renewable Fuels Strategy, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by mandating an average 5% renewable fuel content in gasoline for the transportation sector. This project will use genomic techniques to address these issues, and will be instrumental in establishing short-rotation, fast-growing, treebased bioenergy plantations that can effectively populate a variety of climate zones across the Canadian landscape and can be effectively converted to liquid fuel. A social research component will work closely with the genomic sciences to establish a framework for land use change and make policy recommendations to make the science a reality. Key findings from this project will inform and guide current poplar breeding strategies and generate key genetic markers for germplasm/genotype selection. These outcomes will address land use, economic, and social issues affecting poplar biomass/bioenergy plantations. Collaborations with end users interested in deployment of poplar bioenergy plantations in Canada could permit national impacts on industry.

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