Research Focus




Eucalypt Tree Improvement

Nuveshen Naidoo

Nuveshen Naidoo

Scientist: Eucalypt Tree Improvement

Eucalypt tree improvement research was initiated in 1984 at the ICFR. Over the years, many different eucalypt (Eucalyptus and Corymbia) species have been introduced, tested, improved, and commercialised. The initial focus was on
cool-temperate species, and later expanding to include warm temperate and
sub-tropical species. In 2018, the CSIR’s genetic resources, including additional warm temperate and sub-tropical species, were transferred to the ICFR.

The ICFR has published numerous reports and scientific papers reflecting species characterisation and genetic parameters on topics that include adaptation and growth, cold tolerance, flowering, coppicing and rooting ability, wood properties, and pest and diseases.

The ICFR’s Eucalypt tree improvement project manages a broad base of eucalypt sResepecies, and has three main components:

  • Conservation of Germplasm: Having access to a diverse range of species, families and genotypes is key to performance improvement, the management of biological and environmental risks, and the ability to respond to changing markets and climate.
  • Advanced Generation Breeding: Commercially important species are continuously bred, using a quantitative genetic approach with tree breeding strategies aimed at improving the performance of these populations.
  • Hybrid Development: Hybrids allow novel gene combinations, and clonal deployment allows superior genotypes, tailored to markets and climates, to rapidly enter commercial production.

These three activities aim to strike a balance between achieving the most value from the forest resource, while ensuring sufficient diversity to meet the grower’s future needs and challenges.

The outputs of these research activities (including seed and clones) are available to the forestry sector and include the ICFR’s flagship E. grandis (fourth generation), E. nitens (second generation) and E. dunnii (second generation) populations as well as many other species.