Forest Genetics in Alberta
Provincial Genetic Resource Standards
The Standards for Tree Improvement in Alberta, first implemented in 2003, were revised in 2009 and renamed the Alberta Forest Genetic Resource Management and Conservation Standards (FGRMS). The standards represent science-based policy developed to ensure the genetic integrity, health and productivity of Alberta’s wild and managed forests are maintained. The standards achieve this by guiding the management of forest genetic resources in reforestation and tree improvement activities on public forest lands.
The revised standards reflect a desire to improve the clarity, consistency, grammar and formatting of the manual. Reporting forms were also updated to allow electronic completion.
A major addition was new Seed Testing Standards Changes to standards directing the use of wild seed and vegetative propagules (Stream 1) in reforestation activities include modifications to seed transfer rules to encourage movement of populations in a direction compatible with anticipated climate change.
The majority of revision effort was directed at improving standards dealing with Stream 2 Controlled Parentage Programs (CPPs) and tree improvement activities for seed and vegetative propagules. A major technical improvement was the development of digitized CPP region boundaries for approved CPP projects.
Changes were also made to field testing requirements for CPPs. Genetic research trials remain restricted in size for individual sites but a cumulative size limit was added to allow for establishment of replicated trial series. Quality control standards for height and diameter measurements in genetic field trials have been modified, with height now being required to be within 5% of check values 95% of the time across the test series, and diameter being within 10% of the check value 95% of the time.
The following issues remain to be addressed:
- acceptable deployment patterning of clonal material at both the stand and landscape level
- development of a methodology for calculating landscape Ne for Stream 2 material once the current caps are reached
- conservation requirements for CPP programs once the in situ conservation GAP analysis is completed
- specification of the required gender ratio for reforestation lots of vegetatively propagated hardwood species