Costs and benefits of clonal forestry

Forest Research organise a three-day international meeting to look at successful clonal forestry operations

News from Forest Research: July 2009

Forest Research tree breeding expert Steve Lee organised a three-day international meeting in Liverpool this April to look at successful clonal forestry operations and ask the question ‘Could clonal forestry be made to work in Europe?’

Entitled ‘Vegetative propagation and deployment of varieties: the scope for Europe’, the event formed part of the EU infrastructure project ‘TreeBreedEx’ and was part-sponsored by Maelor Forest Nurseries and UPM Tilhill. Over 50 people attended from Europe, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Brazil to discuss the costs and benefits of clonal forestry.

The technologies associated with clonal forestry are already operational in some parts of the world. This tends to be for short-rotation species, such as eucalyptus in Brazil and Portugal, radiata pine in New Zealand or loblolly pine in south-eastern USA. Increasingly, other species with longer rotations are being considered, such as white spruce in Canada and Norway spruce in Sweden.

The meeting was opened by Forest Research Chief Executive James Pendlebury, who highlighted some of the current forest policy priorities across the UK. He asked the audience to consider clonal forestry not just from the perspective of productivity gains but for its potential to support conservation, biosecurity or even climate change priorities. Presentations were given by Forest Research researchers, invited experts and European TreeBreedEx colleagues looking at the scope, benefits and economics of clonal forestry.

The event included a visit to the Forestry Commission’s Delamere Nursery in north Cheshire to see their large-scale rooted cutting facility. Nearly five million of the highest quality planting stock are produced there each year using technology that is just one step away from clonal forestry.

Presentations from the meeting

   

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This and other news stories can be found in the July 2009 issue of FR News, our online newsletter.