2.02.20 - Breeding and genetic resources of southern pines
This Working Party includes the genetic and breeding aspects of the southern (US) pines in their native environment and in exotic plantations established around the world. It also encompasses the Central American and Mexican pines as these are becoming more important in the tropics and subtropics.
This Working Party held a joint meeting with the Australasian forest genetics group in Hobart, Australia in April 2007. Our plans are now to look at the efficacy of having a following up meeting in several years, possibly in southern Latin America or having a satellite meeting in junction with IUFRO 2010 Congress.
There are several areas of importance. Breeding programs for major southern pines are all in the advanced generations, development of breeding and deployment strategies is one of the major area to capture additive and non-additive genetic gains in advanced generations. There is increased emphasis to make pine hybrid crosses between the US southern pines and the Mexican closed cone pines to improve growth, wood quality and disease resistance. Of great concern to plantation growers is developing resistance to the pitch canker fungus which currently have the potential to adversely affect P. radiata and P. patula. There also has been much emphasis to better understand the genetics of wood quality. Recent development of non-destructive tools to measure wood quality traits facilitated a great progress in understanding inheritance of a suit of wood traits and made it possible to screen young trees of large number for breeding program. We are finding that NIR models developed to predict chemical properties of tropical pines also are functional for the southern pines. Also economic breeding objectives were developed for radiata pine structure timber production.