Genetic control of kraft pulp yield in Eucalyptus globulus.
Pulp yield is an important breeding objective for Eucalyptus globulus Labill., but evaluation of its genetic control and genetic correlations with other traits has been limited by its high assessment cost. We used near infrared spectroscopy to study genetic variation in pulp yield and other traits in a 16-year-old E. globulus trial. Pulp yield was predicted for 2165 trees from 467 open-pollinated families from 17 geographic subraces. Significant differences between subraces and between families within subraces were detected for all traits. The high pulp yield of southern Tasmanian subraces suggested that their economic worth was previously underestimated. The narrow-sense heritability of pulp yield was medium (0.40). The significant positive genetic correlation between pulp yield and diameter (0.52) was at odds with the generally neutral values reported. The average of the reported genetic correlations between pulp yield and basic density (0.50) was also at odds with our nonsignificant estimate. Pulp yield of the subraces increased with increasing latitude, producing a negative correlation with density (-0.58). The absence of genetic correlations within subraces between pulp yield and density suggests that the correlation may be an independent response of the two traits to the same or different selection gradients that vary with latitude.