Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 04, 2007 12:37 ET

Canada's New Government Unveils New Fast Growing Poplar Hybrid

INDIAN HEAD, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - June 4, 2007) - Andrew Scheer, Member of Parliament for Regina Qu'Appelle, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today unveiled a new hybrid poplar in celebration of Environment Week.

"Canada's New Government recognizes that clean air begins at ground level," said Mr. Scheer. "Planting trees protects our soil and water, enhances wildlife habitat, sequesters carbon and provides energy savings by protecting buildings from wind and weather."

Members of the First Nations Okanese Band joined Mr. Scheer in planting seedlings of the Okanese poplar, the latest hybrid clone designed specifically for the Prairie environment. This poplar is unmatched by other hybrid clones in its ability to tolerate drought and resist disease, as well as a remarkable growth rate of an estimated 10 metres in as little as 10 years.

The name Okanese was selected in partnership with First Nations summer students who worked at the AAFC Shelterbelt Centre and in honour of the Saskatchewan Indian Chief Okanis - the chief of the Okanese Band from 1875 to 1885.

Distribution of the Okanese hybrid poplar will begin in the spring of 2008 and will be made available through the Prairie Shelterbelt Program, as a component of a new hybrid poplar mixture. It will also be released to commercial nurseries.

Mr. Scheer also noted this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Tree Improvement Program. Over 50 prairie hardy tree and shrub species have been tested through this program and these superior trees will benefit producers, industry and the environment.

For more information, please visit the AAFC Shelterbelt Centre at


AAFC Tree Improvement Program

AAFC's Tree Improvement Program (TIP) contributes to a cleaner, healthier environment. Since 1947, AAFC has been developing genetically superior trees and shrubs that can live and thrive in the harsh Prairie climate.

More than 25 tree and shrub species and over 100 clones have been tested, studied and evaluated at the Shelterbelt Centre in Indian Head, SK. Through TIP, trees are being bred to adapt to climate change, to enhance biodiversity, improve air quality, protect land and water resources and meet increased demand for bio-products, bio-fuels, and tree-related products such as nutraceuticals, wood materials and fibre.

The primary objective of this research program is to develop genetically superior trees and shrubs which are reliable, diverse and adaptable, allowing them to grow faster, tolerate drought and cold, and develop a natural resistance to pests and disease on the Canadian Prairies.

From start to finish, it takes between 10 to 15 years of research, testing and evaluation before the Centre releases an improved tree for use through the Prairie Shelterbelt Program or to commercial nurseries.

Some tree species evaluated and enhanced through the TIP include hybrid poplar Colorado spruce, Caragana, Scots pine, Ponderosa pine, Japanese and Siberian elm, Willow, Ash, Oak, Choke cherry and Sea buckthorn.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Minister Strahl's Office
    Ted Yeomans
    Press Secretary