The article deals with the present state of various species of the genus Populus L. in protective planted stands within Lugansk region. To assess the state, a comprehensive analysis of the poplar stands was done based on the materials of the electronic database of the forest fund of State Forest Resources Agency in the north-eastern part of Steppe zone of Ukraine, as well as on-the-spot inspections. The area of the study is a zone of risky farming, and its southeastern part belongs to the zone of crisis ecological situation.
Poplar stands were mainly concentrated in the anti-erosion forests (51.5 %) and in the forests of 1st and 2nd zones of sanitary protection of water sources (48 %). Populus nigra L. and P. deltoides Marsh. were the most represented – 44 % and 30 %, respectively. P. alba L. occupied an area of 428.6 hectares (16 %), P. nigra var. pyramidalis Spach, P. laurifolia Ledeb. and P. balsamifera L. were represented in small areas – 33.3 ha (1%), 10.5 ha (0.4%), 4.8 ha (0.2%), respectively.
Representatives of Populus L. mostly grow in mesic mesotrophic (24,4 %) and meso-hygric megatrophic (22,4 %) conditions. The insignificant area of poplar stands was detected outside the optimal growth conditions, in dry and mesic oligotrophic (0,1 and 11,9 %), and dry, mesic and meso-hygric oligomesotrophic (1,2; 6,5 and 2,5 %) site conditions. The macro-complex of black poplar growth is represented by a wide variety of typological spectrum.
In the Luhansk region, the average age of poplar forest stands is 50 years. Increases in tree mortality rates were registered for trees older than 50 years. The present health condition of protective poplar forests demonstrates the need to perform salvage/sanitation cutting and reconstruction of the stands.