Tree Improvement in Alberta

Updated: July 14, 2003

Position Paper – Tree Improvement in Alberta

Tree Improvement
Alberta Forest Genetic Resources Council
Tree improvement may be defined as stand yield enhancement obtained through control of parentage in combination with good silvicultural practices.

Using traditional methods employed in plant and animal breeding programs, the best individuals are selectively bred together or vegetatively propagated to produce more valuable offspring. Traits considered in selection of parents may include health, growth rate, form, and wood properties.

This process is applied in Alberta in several programs in each of several native species. Following extensive and long-term testing, several exotic species may eventually be considered for inclusion in tree improvement programs, either as parents of hybrids or as pure species.

Program development generally involves the following sequence, but programs vary considerably in intensity, speed, size and complexity.