DEVELOPING <em>EUCALYPTUS</em> <em>PELLITA</em> BREEDING POPULATIONS FOR THE SOLID WOOD INDUSTRY OF EASTERN MALAYSIA
Keywords:Eucalyptus pellita, solid wood, wood properties, genetic gain, seed orchads
Eucalyptus pellita progeny within provenance trials were used to predict responses that will result from several selection scenarios designed to improve productivity and solid wood properties. Comparisons of genetic gain estimates derived from genetic parameters and predicted breeding values for growth and wood properties were used to evaluate what may be achieved from developing seed orchards that will supply logs for conversion into high-value wood products. Significant genetic variation in E. pellita, for volume, straightness and dynamic modulus of elasticity (MOE) was evident, and heritability estimates were low to moderate (h2 ranged from 0.13 to 0.39, 0.19 to 0.26, and 0.12 to 0.23 respectively). High genetic correlations were observed between volume and straightness, while the genetic correlation with dynamic MOE was low but highly significant in two of the three trials. Genetic parameters for wood stiffness in E. pellita indicated selection of parents for growth and straightness which may positively impact wood properties. Predictions of genetic gain for several selection strategies provided an indication of improvement that may be realised when trials are converted into seedling seed orchards, and seed is collected for reforestation.