Growing poplar trees for biofuels : what do landowners in Washington State have to say?
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One option for reducing reliance on petroleum is to use hybrid poplar trees as a local, renewable source of biofuels and other bioproducts in the Pacific Northwest. It would require a mass of potential landowners interested in growing poplar as a feedstock when market opportunities develop. In 2014 and 2015, we surveyed 900 landowners in Washington State to better understand their perceptions and concerns about growing poplar as a feedstock for biofuels and bioproducts. Overall, we found that most Washington State landowners are not familiar with, or are not willing to grow, poplars. These landowners perceive several major challenges to poplar production, such as difficulty converting back to traditional crops and making a profit. However, the landowners would prefer growing poplar to most other bioenergy crops. This study can help Extension professionals and others understand the needs and concerns of Washington State landowners and, consequently, be better able to help landowners make informed decisions.