Creating new germplasm

Harvesting genetics for productive plantations

Published in: The Southern African Forestry Journal
Volume 195, issue 1, 2002 , pages: 83–87
DOI: 10.1080/20702620.2002.10434608
Author(s): S.D. VerrynTree Improvement Business Area, Environmentek CSIR,


Tree breeding has had significant impacts on the success of the South Mrica forest industry. Examples are cited for tree growth rate, where for instance, a mean genetic improvement of39% has been measured in F2 E.grandis over unimproved controls over various sites. The mean improvement of F1 over PO was recorded as 15% in the genetic gains trials, which compares with the realised reduction of rotation length by 10-15% in sawtimber crops. In E.grandis sawtimber, the impact ofwood splitting has been reduced by approximately 29%. Similarly, substantial progress has been made in stem form, and species selection against pest and diseases. Selection of species with suitable properties for pulp yield is currently gaining momentum, with the increasing use of E.smithii, and the initiation of Project Pulp.

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