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Achievements in forest tree improvement in Australia and New Zealand 6: Genetic improvement and conservation of Araucaria cunninghamii in Queensland

Dieters, M.J. and Nikles, D.G. and Keys, M.G. (2007) Achievements in forest tree improvement in Australia and New Zealand 6: Genetic improvement and conservation of Araucaria cunninghamii in Queensland. Australian Forestry, 70 (2). pp. 75-85.

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Organisation URL: http://www.forestry.org.au

Abstract

Araucaria cunninghamii (hoop pine) typically occurs as an emergent tree over subtropical and tropical rainforests, in a discontinuous distribution that extends from West Irian Jaya at about 0°30'S, through the highlands of Indonesian New Guinea and Papua New Guinea, along the east coast of Australia from 11°39'S in Queensland to 30°35'S in northern New South Wales. Plantations established in Queensland since the 1920s now total about 44000 ha, and constitute the primary source for the continuing supply of hoop pine quality timber and pulpwood, with a sustainable harvest exceeding 440 000 m3 y-1. Establishment of these managed plantations allowed logging of all native forests of Araucaria species (hoop pine and bunya pine, A. bidwillii) on state-owned lands to cease in the late 1980s, and the preservation of large areas of araucarian forest types within a system of state-owned and managed reserves. The successful plantation program with this species has been strongly supported by genetic improvement activities since the late 1940s - through knowledge of provenance variation and reproductive biology, the provision of reliable sources of improved seed, and the capture of substantial genetic gains in traits of economic importance (for example growth, stem straightness, internode length and spiral grain). As such, hoop pine is one of the few tropical tree species that, for more than half a century, has been the subject of continuous genetic improvement. The history of commercialisation and genetic improvement of hoop pine provides an excellent example of the dual economic and conservation benefits that may be obtained in tropical tree species through the integration of gene conservation and genetic improvement with commercial plantation development. This paper outlines the natural distribution and reproductive biology of hoop pine, describes the major achievements of the genetic improvement program in Queensland over the past 50+ y, summarises current understanding of the genetic variation and control of key selection traits, and outlines the means by which genetic diversity in the species is being conserved.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© Institute of Foresters of Australia.
Keywords:Araucaria Cunninghamii; breeding programs; conservation; genetic improvement; hoop pine; provenance; reproductive traits; variation; Queensland.
Subjects:Forestry > Conservation and protection
Science > Biology > Genetics
Deposited On:30 Jan 2009 03:00
Last Modified:29 Sep 2010 00:00

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