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IUFRO The Advocate for Forest Science.
Working Party 2.08.04 brings together all aspects of research in IUFRO on breeding and genetic resources of Populus sp. and Salix sp. Major functions of this Unit are to facilitate information flow on breeding and selection, genomics, and conservation, to facilitate exchange of material and to provide for informative meetings, workshops and field trips. Working Party 2.08.04 works closely with the International Poplar Commission's Working Party on Poplar Willow Genetics, Conservation and Improvement.
Several key scientific and programmatic challenges will ensure the future of sustainable poplar cultivation. Among these, it is striking how many programs are reliant upon cultivars that are 30 years and older. This is, in nearly all cases, a consequence of inadequate access to improved breeding populations of both native and exotics species. A coordinated plan of international cooperation for the exchange of reproductive materials and hybridization services, perhaps best facilitated by the poplar genetics working groups of IPC and IUFRO should be made a high priority. A plan should strongly emphasize the need for population breeding approach as opposed to a strictly non-recurrent first generation hybridization appoach that is also too commonly the sole breeding strategy of many programs. The process of evaluation of both seedling- and clonal-based test populations would benefit immeasureably from a standardized protocol that would detail the finer features of appropriate experimental designs, selection criteria and intensities appropriate for varying stages of a multiple-stage test procedure, and newer methods of quantitiative analyses including the restricted maximum likelihood procedure.