Sheffield black poplar planting aims to establish breeding population

A Sheffield City Council initiative is aiming to boost populations of a threatened native tree.

Image: Daniel Jolivet (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Daniel Jolivet (CC BY 2.0)

Community forestry officer Angus Hunter has been working to bring the black poplar back back to the city, planting 11 specimens in its river valleys.

He said: "Black poplar is generally a tree of Southern river valleys but, with the planet warming, its distribution will move northward with the rising temperatures.

"By planting trees with a more southerly distribution, Sheffield City Council is future- proofing its tree stock for global warming, whilst helping preserve this rare native tree."

There are fewer than 1,000 mature UK black poplars (Populus nigra) in the wild, mostly growing in isolation and widely dispersed. They are most prevalent in Cheshire, Somerset and East Anglia, making wild pollination unlikely.

In the long term, Hunter hopes to create groups of both male and female trees from different genetic sources to establishing a viable breeding population.


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