Patagonian Poplars – Picture of the Day

Aerial view of a Black Poplar (Populus nigra L.) plantation on the outskirts of Bariloche. Río Negro, Argentina. Wednesday, May 9, 2007.

Nikon D2x camera and Nikkor 70-200mm AF-S VR f/2.8 lens at ISO 125, 1/1250 sec. and f/3.5.

Though native to Europe, Southwest and Central Asia and Northwest Africa, Poplar trees have been widespread on South America’s Patagonian region after their introduction by the Spanish conquistadors.

When the specie first arrived, probably brought from Chile to Argentina in the late XV century, they where used mainly as wind fences planted in tight rows, as these fast growing trees survived the harsh climatic conditions that reigned there.

A while later, in the Northen Patagonian areas, the wood that was becoming available from these trees begun to move a small timber industry, centered on the production of boxes for the growing twentieth century’s fruit plantations.

In some areas of Argentina, growing poplars for the paper industry became an important economic activity, which in it’s own time actually highly depreciated the price of the wood.

On the South though, the Black Poplars are almost always a synonym of human settlement, seen from far away by the Patagonian traveller that comes from the desolated steppes, they protect the isolated ranches from the incessant blowing southern winds.