NZDFI aims to breed trees that will yield consistently high quality, durable timber. Wood, like all natural products, is highly variable. Previous research has revealed that wood properties are partly controlled by genetics. By breeding from trees with superior wood quality properties, we stand to make huge gains in average wood quality.

Research programme and methods

Our breeding programme is selecting superior trees that produce high quality, durable timber. The younger we can identify superior trees, the faster we can make significant genetic improvement in wood properties

The key wood properties of interest in the NZDFI programme are:

Measuring wood properties is laborious, but a successful tree breeding programmes must rely on assessing large numbers of trees. To overcome this, we have developed techniques to quickly and reliably measure wood properties in young trees. This enables us to select superior trees early in tree breeding programmes, speeding up the selection cycle.

Research updates: timber properties, utilisation and markets

More information on timber properties, utilisation and markets is available in our Guidelines for Growers section.

Two key potential markets for our strong, durable timbers are posts and poles for vineyards and other primary production markets, and laminated veneer lumber (LVL).

Check out our Resources, especially our six-monthly Project Updates, to read about how research has progressed over time.

Presentations on wood quality topics from two recent workshops are also available:

Our latest Wood Quality Research Plan is available here (March 2017).





Collecting samples to test for heartwood content.

Varying heartwood in trees the same species and age.

Varying heartwood in trees the same species and age.


Taking samples of E argphloia to measure growth strain.

Taking samples to test for growth strain from a Marlborough trial site.

Taking samples of E argophloia to test for growth strain.



Key researchers

Dr Clemens Altaner leads the NZDFI wood quality research team at the School of Forestry.

Daniel Boczniewicz is a PhD researcher working on aspects of wood quality: Dr Ebenezer Iyiola has recently completed his PhD. Another PhD researcher, Vikash Ghildiyal, is working on techniques for drying eucalypts.

More information

Visit the School of Forestry website to learn more about wood quality research.