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The Wood From The Trees - Issue Five - Breeding shining gum for solid-wood products

A total of over 40 000 hectares of shining gum plantations in Tasmania receive pruning and thinning treatments, to produce solid-wood and veneer products. 

Rapid growth and high wood density, also favoured for pulpwood plantations, are desirable for sawlog production. However, other traits such as log straightness, and wood properties affecting board stiffness and strength, board distortion and checking that develop during drying can have major impacts on profitability of solid wood production systems.

David Blackburn (PhD, University of Tasmania) has been collaborating with Forestry Tasmania and FEA Ltd to track the processing of over 500 family-identified logs from a large E. nitens progeny trial at Tarraleah.  (See the article in the previous edition of this enewsletter.)

Checking, stiffness, strength and other traits were studied in the processed boards. Internal checking was shown to be under strong genetic control, demonstrating the potential to reduce checking through selection and breeding.

David’s work, which was presented at the Australasian Forest Genetics conference in Perth in April 2009, will help breeders to develop and deploy shining gum varieties specifically targeted to solid-wood products.

sections from processed boards with different levels of checking

Sections cut from processed boards, showing different levels of internal checking


Chris Harwood
phone  03 6237 5664