Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The first 50 years of the evolution of forest tree improvement in Queensland.

Abstract

Araucaria cunninghamii (hoop pine), an indigenous rainforest conifer was the species of first choice for plantation establishment in Queensland, begun in the mid 1920s, because of the excellence of the wood produced by trees in natural stands, and its high survival and acceptable growth in trials which were commenced before 1920. However the area of state forest land suitable for cultivation of hoop pine was known to be limited. Trials of other coniferous species were undertaken in the infertile coastal lowlands of south-east Queensland in the 1920s, to identify species which could be planted successfully to supplement timber production from Araucaria plantations.Selection of superior, wild-stand trees of hoop pine to obtain seed for plantation establishment began in the 1920s, and a series of provenance trials was established between 1929 and 1956. However, formal tree improvement in Queensland dates from the mid 1940s. Mass selection in plantations of the successful introduced Pinus elliottii and P. taeda began in the 1940s, but commenced somewhat later in hoop pine plantations because of the longer period before pollen is produced. Controlled crossing of selected plantation trees of both genera also commenced in the mid 1940s, and by the early 1950s there was encouraging evidence of the efficacy of phenotypic selection and pollination control. The first clonal seed orchard to be established in Australia was of Pinus elliottii; planting of grafts in it started in Queensland in 1953. Queensland forestry has a history of continuous implementation of genetic improvement practices for over 50 years. Hoop pine, P. elliottii, P. caribaea and hybrids of the latter have become the main plantation species. The plantations now comprise some 180 000 ha, to be sustained, with hoop pine, P. elliottii, P. caribaea and hybrids presently comprising about 26, 31 and 10% of the estate respectively. Only a small but strategically important area of hardwoods (mainly Acacia, Castanospermum, Elaeocarpus, Eucalyptus and Flindersia species) have yet been established. Breeding objectives and the methods of breeding employed (population improvement and hybridisation - interspecific and wide, inter-provenance crossing) are described. Self-sufficiency in planting stock of orchard origin was achieved for P. elliottii, P. caribaea, their hybrids and hoop pine in 1968, 1978, 1995 and 1984 respectively. The excellence of the Queensland-bred P. caribaea and P. elliottii\mult\P. caribaea F1 and F2 hybrid populations is attested by their performances in international and local trials.