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BREEDING OF EUCALYPTUS FOR GROWTH, COLD TOLERANCE AND WOOD QUALITY

Objective

The project is expected to provide an understanding of how to breed eucalyptus for high yields and cold tolerance as well as identifying a selection of genotypes which endure cold habitats and are of good quality for pulp production.
The project increased the known how to breed eucalyptus for high yield, low temperatures and good wood quality for pulp production, as well as to select genotypes enduring cold habitats. Field trials with various eucalyptus species, provenances and clones in Portugal, Italy and Greece were evaluated in terms of growth, survival and adaptability, cold tolerance and wood quality. Instructions were provided to select new potential species, provenances and clones of eucalyptus species for the plantations in southern Europe. The wood production can be increased by 5% to 25% by optimal selection. New laboratorial and field methods were developed for the measurement of the effect of low temperatures for the selection of seedlings in relation to cold tolerance.
This proposal deals with the breeding
of eucalypts for wood Production, cold
tolerance and raw-material quality. I
t is a collaborative study involving t
he testing and evaluation of experimen
ts with eucalypt species, provenances
and clones, established as field trial
s in different sites in Portugal, Ital
y and Greece, as well as laboratorial
work on cold tolerance and micropropag
ation. The project will involve two Un
iversities and one research institutio
n in three countries (PT, IT,GR) as we
ll as three major pulp companies with
considerable expertise in eucalypt pro
duction and utilisation.
It is the objective of this project to
evaluate eucalypt species and provena
nces in the European mediterranean are
a in relation to site, as the basis fo
r a breeding programme for wood growth
, adaptability and raw-material qualit
y. Although eucalypt production and us
e as pulpwood has been very successful
in Portugal, it is feared that the ge
netic basis of the plantations might b
e very narrow. Furthermore, the main l
imitation for a broader plantation of
eucalypts in Europe is their sensitivi
ty to low temperatures and it is also
the objective of this project to devel
op methodologies to determine cold tol
erance and to its early evaluation, so
that it can be effectively used as a
breeding traits The experimental plant
ations will be evaluated in terms of g
rowth survival and adaptability, and a
wood sampling will take place for qua
lity assessment mainly in relation to
its use for pulping.
The data obtained for juvenile tree fo
rm and taper will be correlated to exi
sting growth models already developed
by the participants for adults stages
to evaluate the reliability of the inf
ormation obtained at young ages.
The work on low temperatures will conc
entrate on seedlings of hybrids of pot
entially tolerant parents as well as o
n selected trees from different proven
ances, and will study the effects of e
xposing the plants to either below zer
o temperatures, likely to produce free
zing/lethal injuries and chilling temp
eratures which may have after-effects
on carbon assimilation for several day
s and thus on productivity. Acclimatat
ion will also be tested. The effects o
f low temperatures on the leaves will
be evaluated using different methodolo
gical approaches namely, photosyntheti
c capacity, quantum yield, in vivo flu
orescence of clorophyll a. Damage on l
eaf tissue will be detected using the
traditional electrical conductivity of
leaf disk exsudate and tissue necrosi
s. In addition to laboratory work, gro
wth and damage in the trees of the tri
als already installed will be followed
.
Finally, techniques for the micropropa
gation of selected material will also
be implemented.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

INSTITUTO SUPERIOR DE AGRONOMIA
Address
Tapada Da Ajuda
Lisboa
Portugal

Participants (1)

Società Agricola e Forestale per le Piante da Cellulosa e da Carta SpA
Italy
Address
Via Di Casalotti 300
00166 Roma