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Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Robert Froese

Committee Member 1

David Watkins

Committee Member 2

Joseph Wagenbrenner

Committee Member 3

Andrew Burton

Abstract

Interest in hybrid poplar production and silviculture waxes and wanes with the fortunes of fossil fuel prices. Hybrid poplar as a purpose grown species, could be grown where it is needed to maintain feedstock supply to energy and industry. Developing interest in hybrid poplar considering competing interests has increased the need for demonstrating hybrid poplar environmental and production suitability and potential. Water resource impacts were assessed in three northern Michigan watersheds using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a process based agricultural watershed model to investigate impacts from deployment on eligible land. Land conversion scenarios were run, effectively modeling 25, 50, 75 and 100% land conversion over a 20year period. The results did not show a significant change to water output in the modeled watersheds. While hybrid poplar exhibited, higher estimated ET compared to pasture cover type, the area available for deployment is small accounting for less than 20% of the watershed. Regional production was investigated by utilizing a short-rotation aspen model and adapting it to represent hybrid poplar production, using growth data from plantations located across northern Michigan. The aspen model was satisfactory in representing poplar growth, and a strong linear relationship was found between estimated yield for aspen and estimated yield for poplar. Modeled production was compared to published production values, and found that the model performed well in validation tests, and accurately estimated observed production in the region. Stock type represents the earliest decision facing potential hybrid poplar plantation managers. The performance (Height, Dbh, and estimated total dry weight) of two clones, and three stock types (cuttings, rooted, and pole) planted at three sites in northern Michigan were evaluated using mixed effects models. Poles out performed other stock types. DN34 outperformed NM6 in terms of height and Dbh, typically NM6 is superior in published growth trials. Investigating when each stock type and clone reached peak mean annual increment (Mg) and peak net present revealed NM6 reached both earlier, though DN34 had higher NPV and MAI. Poles are superior performers to other stock types however cost may be prohibitive.

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