Greenwood Resources positions poplars for biofuel

What may be Oregon’s most sustainable — and surreal — forest is a major beneficiary of two $40 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to Northwest universities for biofuel research and development.

Portland-based Greenwood Resources Inc. operates the country’s largest irrigated tree farm at Boardman in northeast Oregon’s Morrow County. The farm has about 7.5 million hybrid poplar and alder trees on 25,000 acres.

The ambitious trees reach a harvest height of 110 feet in just 12 years, creating a bizarre sight and a unique ecosystem in the flat, sagebrush-studded desert of the Columbia Plateau. The second-tallest irrigated crop in the area is corn, which tops out at about eight feet.

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