- Eysteinsson, Throstur
Intensive forestry can and often does include plantations, where using generically improved trees can add to the gain achieved by weed control and thinning ( Zobel and Talbert 1984). Trees can be genetically improved in much the same way as agricultural crop plants by selecting individuals with desirable characteristics, crossing them and testing their offspring, some of which should also exhibit desirable traits. However, trees often have a prolonged juvenile period (decades in some cases) prior to the onset of flowering, and success ln achieving genetic gain ln important traits such as wood production can best be measured at rotation age (decades again). An accelerated breeding and testing program for Iarch (Larix Mill.) was initiated at the University of Maine in 1987. The objective was to set, up a program for demonstration and research in accelerated tree breeding, and in the process, to create improved (with respect to volume growth, wood properties, straightness) families of tamarack, exotic larches and hybrids.