Developing genetically improved planting stock of select ground-durable eucalypt species is the key strategy of the NZ Dryland Forests Initiative’s research and development programme.
The potential for genetic improvement
There is huge scope to improve ground-durable eucalypts by genetic selection.
Very little breeding work has been done on durable eucalypt species anywhere in the world. In contrast, genetic improvement work on radiata pine has continued for around 70 years. By applying knowledge and techniques developed by tree breeders working with other species, we anticipate huge gains in the growth, form and wood quality of NZDFI’s select ground durable eucalypts by 2020.
Once improved stock is proven in the field, the NZDFI will begin to supply it to growers – this will start in 2021.
Genetic gains will only be achieved through a scientifically rigorous breeding and field trial programme; a cornerstone of NZDFI’s activities.