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Sustainable Markets for Forest Products

This Programme will investigate research associated with 'Tree Breeding' for tradition solid wood traits, and 'Wood Quality'. 'Resistance Breeding' is not included here but can be found in Programme 3 (Ash) and Programme 2 (Larch).


The main aim of Programme 5 is to provide forest managers, saw millers and policy makers with more complete information regarding the possibilities and potential of planting alternative species (otherwise known as emerging or secondary species):

  • Tree Breeding - many species will be investigated in Programme 5 including secondary conifer and broadleaf species as well as any legacy breeding associated with continuing programmes.
  • Wood Quality - the Programme also considers the wood quality of the various new species considered, as selected by the three countries (England, Scotland & Wales).

Innovation potential

Innovation will take place in the following areas:

  • DNA-marker association with actual (phenotypic) field performance
  • Development of tissue culture techniques
  • New methods of measuring timber qualities and characteristics
  • New timber quality prediction models

Work Packages

WP1 - Breeding Techniques to improve timber properties
This work package includes new bio-tech tools to reduce the cost and time frame of tree breeding so that improved material is deployed more quickly by forest managers. Currently activities are focused on DNA-markers used in the genomic selection of favourable trees at a very early age, and tissue culture as a means of mass-production of value trees such as rare planting stock or pest resistant individuals.

WP2 - Breeding Plans for alternative species
There is great interest right now in making sure woodlands and forests are diverse, resilient and future proofed. This work package will look at alternative (emerging or secondary species) of conifers and broadleaved species and suggest cost-efficient methods to improve the adaptation, growth rate and quality of deployed planting stock according to predicted climatic trends.

WP3 - Legacy breeding
It is essential that the tree breeding work carried out to date is not lost as a future resource. This includes existing field trials and archives containing earlier selections from many species. Resources will be directed to ensure archives are not destroyed or lost or overgrown. This work package will also include Forest Research involvement in the new Sitka spruce breeding co-operative.

WP4 - Diversifying the timber supply
The main aim of this work package is to address the changes in raw material supply to the forest product industries that will occur due to a change in planting and management strategies. Additionally we aim to investigate the ecosystem service of carbon sequestration provided by a range of tree species to inform the public and practitioners alike.

WP5. Measuring and modelling timber properties
The key aims of this work package are to develop measurement techniques that will allow us to more effectively assess and monitor the national forest resource. Plus we wish to gain further insight into how trees are shaped, in a physical and structural sense, by their environment. We are focusing on tree and wood properties that are essential for productive, yet resilient forests (in terms of climate change), in line with current and future end uses/markets. We aim to add value to all values of the forest wood chain, promoting economic growth.

Last updated: 2nd August 2016