n Southern African Forestry Journal - Operational deployment of genetic gain




Tree improvement is central to increasing plantation productivity per unit land area in many countries that rely on an exotic fast grown plantation resource as a source of wood and fibre. In order to achieve an acceptable return on the investment made in tree breeding, it is important that material be deployed with both good husbandry and on sites where the genetic potential can be expressed. Apart from the obvious breeding and propagation of genetically improved material, such a deployment strategy has three components.<br> 1. A site classification system to determine the geographic distribution of environmental variables significant to site quality and tree growth potential<br> 2. The development of cultural best operating practices to promote growth of improved material, particularly before canopy closure<br> 3. A system of measurement to measure the success of operational deployment of genetic gain and related future forest productivity<br> The concept of operational gain integrates genetic improvement with cultural practices and site growth potential as a measure of the capture of genetic gain at an operational level. In this paper, initial results from a trial series testing the interaction of different levels of genetic improvement in eucalypts, with different levels of silvicultural after care over two sites are used to quantify the relative importance of each of the three components.


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