The value of long term trials in demonstrating genetic gain

ar2015-KPI_1_c.jpgAnalysis of an extensive dataset from a series of large-plot radiata pine trials, indicate that genetically improved tree stocks have increased the present value of the national radiata pine estate by an estimated $3.5 billion.

A further switch to highly improved stocks is underway, with an estimated value uplift to the industry of $8.5 billion compared to using unimproved material.

Scion established the first genetic gain trials in 1978. These trials have been monitored for over 30 years and represent one of the most extensive datasets of its kind internationally. Additional data has recently been included from a major forest grower.

Our analysis has shown a strong relationship between the level of genetic improvement and the increased volume that is grown, and that the magnitude of realised genetic gain increases over the life of the plantation.

Quantifying realised genetic gain is a major focus of the Radiata Pine Breeding Company. 

“Although genetic-based gain in tree breeding can readily be demonstrated in controlled breeding trials, it is very difficult to show the benefit of improved genetics in long-term commercial forestry operations,” says John Butcher, Chief Executive of the Radiata Pine Breeding Company. “This work makes a major contribution to providing credible scientific evidence that links genetic improvement to productive gains in volume and density in 30 year stands. This is the evidence that gives our shareholders, representing all major national forestry companies, the confidence to invest in genetic improvement”.

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