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INVITATION TO ROME

The IPC (International Commission on Poplars and Other Fast-Growing Trees Sustaining People and the Environment) is a statutory body of FAO founded in 1947 to facilitate restoration of the severely degraded landscapes of Europe after the Second World War. Today it has 38 Member Nations on five Continents. The IPC achieves its objectives through technical exchange, standard setting, and the conservation and sustainable use of fast-growing trees. Traditionally, poplars and willows have been the main interest of the IPC; in 2019 however, the IPC broadened its scope to include other fast-growing trees that sustain people and the environment.

Fast-growing trees are an important component of forestry and agricultural production systems worldwide. Often, these production systems are owned by small-scale farmers and support their livelihoods. Moreover, fast-growing trees are an efficient and established means to produce wood, fuel, restore degraded land, and sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Fast-growing tree species can contribute greatly to prosperous societies based on climate-friendly economies that make greater use of raw materials produced by trees. To achieve this, new scientific knowledge and its applications must be demonstrated.

In the four years since the IPC community last met in Berlin, Germany (2016), scientists and practitioners have generated a wealth of information (e.g.: in molecular genetics, breeding, plant physiology, pathology and ecology). This body of knowledge represents an indispensable resource from which new applications will surely emerge. The IPC has chosen the theme of the 26th Session of the IPC, “The role of Salicaceae and other fast-growing trees in sustainable wood supplies and climate change mitigation”, in view of the current challenges in moving towards green, bio-based and climate-smart economies and the opportunities offered by fast-growing trees to contribute to these developments. The subjects to be discussed during this Session will contribute to the sustainable production of raw materials for future plant-based economies at various scales, and the related issues of climate change adaptation and mitigation; resilience against disasters, threats and crises; biodiversity conservation; landscape restoration; and sustainable agriculture and forestry.

Martin Weih

Chairperson of the International Commission on Poplars and Other Fast-Growing Trees Sustaining People and the Environment (IPC)

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)