DESIGN OF EX SITU GENE CONSERVATION PLANTATIONS TO MINIMIZE INBREEDING IN RADIATA PINE

Radiata pine has become one of the most important commercial tree species in
the world and is currently the most extensively planted conifer species in Australia and
New Zealand. The radiata pine domestication process of selection and breeding has
occurred almost entirely in regions far removed from its native forests in California and
Mexico. The wood of this species is remarkably versatile and is used for both structural
and appearance-grade wood products, and for pulp. The conservation of radiata pine
germplasm has become an important component of long-term forest management for its
sustained productivity and profitability. Potential gene conservation benefits include
disease and insect damage alleviation, an increase in volume, improved wood stiffness
and extending the current suitable plantation area by breeding for drought tolerance.
Maintaining such resources to serve their intended purpose needs to be made as
efficient and cost effective as possible. This depends on measures of the underlying
genetic diversity of traits of interest.


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