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One of the NZDFI’s earliest and most critical tasks was to identify the durable eucalypt species believed to have the best potential in NZ dryland conditions. Information was gathered and analysed from the following sources:
Five species have been selected as the focus for tree improvement work:
A further small number of secondary contenders may be considered in future, depending on the performance of the primary five species. These include E. camaldulensis and E. cladocalyx.
The NZDFI believes it is important at this stage to work with a relatively large range of species, rather than narrowing its genetic improvement efforts down to only one or two species. This approach will reduce the risks associated with certain eucalypts’ vulnerability, for example, to frost or pests and diseases.
Some of the species were selected partly on performance in earlier trials; others were chosen specifically for their timber properties or ability to hybridise. All species meet the following criteria: