I can add a bit about cloning. It's been done with redwoods. As I
understand the process, there's nothing very mumbo-jumbo about it, just
controlled vegetative reproduction. Cloning is just splitting a culture
of plant cells, then tricking them into developing into whole plants.
There's no genetic tinkering involved other than plain selective
breeding and Farmers have been doing that for a while now. With species
that don't vegetatively reproduce one grafts a cone bearing limb
(possibly from one of those super trees) onto a short but sturdy trunk.
You get a seed source you don't have to climb. Saves wear and tear on
the seed orchard workers.
Don Staples wrote:
>> Robinson wrote:
> > I happened to meet up with a forester from the Georgia Forestry
> > Commission today, I took the opportunity to ask him some questions and
> > got a lot of useful ideas. We were talking about replanting versus
> > leaving seed trees for natural regeneration. When we cut our land we
> > left seed trees, because I was under the impression that the seedlings
> > being sold now are all either clones or have had some kind of genetic
> > tinkering done on them. I've always had misgivings about that because I
> > believe that while "super pines" may make money faster , it's the
> > natural genetic diversity in all lifeforms that protect them from being
> > completely wiped out by one disease or bug. However, he said that all
> > they are basically doing is speeding up the natural selection process
> > with the seedlings they grow and sell. He says they started out back in
> > the '50s collecting seed from the best and strongest trees, growing them
> > out and culling the weaker ones , letting the strong ones grow and
> > collecting seed again, doing the same with the next generation. Now
> > that, I don't have a problem with, but before I decide to go buy
> > seedlings, I wanted to see if y'all can tell me if he had it right. I
> > know I have read somewhere about genetics and cloning work being done
> > with pines, but maybe it was just initial research. Whats your opinion
> > on letting trees regenerate on their own versus going in a and
> > replanting, for a landowner who wants to have a multi use forest for
> > hunting and wildlife habitat as well as make money from the timber
> > sales?
>> Good long question with no simple answer. 20 years ago there was a
> little publication released here in the south that indicated that the
> super trees were not that super, that silvacultural practices could
> reach the same benefits. Apparently true enough to the point that
> Texas, at least, dropped a number of their improved seed sources. The
> selection of super trees as you state above with selection of "superior"
> characteristics is correct, I know of no source of cloned, or
> genetically manipulated trees, other than selective breeding, not to say
> it hasn't been done,just not commercial as yet. I am sure that if I
> have missed one, some one else will know.
>> Personnally, I think it is a matter of what you want your woods to look
> like, and the intensity your going to put into growing trees. A well
> managed plantation of super trees (or any other) that is fertilized,
> pruned, herbicided, thinned at proper intervals, will produce maximum
> fiber. But little else. A selectively managed stand will have a
> riotous mix of plant life, and animal, that is more in line with some
> land owners goals. You can plant to 600 to the acre, or let nature do
> it with several thousand, and select the ones that do the best, your own
> genetic experiment.
>> To answer the question you need to make a management decision on what
> you want at the end. You can buy the seedlings, have 'em planted in
> neat rows, or let nature do it. For me the answer is,if you got trees,
> keep trees and thin. If you have bare land, plant pines, and hardwood,
> where the hard wood sites are located.
>> Leaving the seed trees may not have been enough, what kind of site prep
> prior to the harvest was used? Any burning? Herbicide to reduce the
> hardwood invasion? Enough seed trees? Maybe a shelter belt? The
> forester may have been politely telling you that your stand did not
> regenerate, and needs help.
>> Keep looking, and talking with the Georgia foresters. If the state hand
> is one of the milk feed young kids, try a consultant, or a company hand
> that harvested the tract, get more opinions, do a cost/benefit study, go
> out and survey the seedlings on the ground, lots to do, and so little
> Don Staples
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