The NRRI Forestry Program works to enhance forest productivity and wood fiber supplies for industry through high quality research and development in support of economic development in Minnesota. Wood and fiber availability and price were identified as the highest priority problems facing Minnesota's forest products industries. Our silviculture research provides in-depth knowledge on how to maximize tree growth through hybridization, fertilization and mechanical thinning.
Our research areas include studying hybrid poplar by focusing on genetic improvements and yield issues. We are examining aspen productivity and silvicultural methods, plantation production of conifers and biomass energy potential. NRRI works in conjunction with Minnesota Forest Productivity Research Cooperative, which is one of the largest and most successful programs in the world and has shown significant yield gains and cost reductions (80 percent yield increase in some cases).
Through our cooperation with the Minnesota Forest Productivity Research Cooperative and the USDA Forest Service, NRRI researchers feel that the future of hybrid poplars potentially includes a new regional focus on the Corn Belt, a stabilization of jobs in the forest products industry for both logging and mills in Minnesota, and may provide a new crop for farmers and opportunities in rural areas. NRRI is well positioned to provide answers for biomass energy issues as well.