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Southern Hardwood Varietal Forestry: A New Approach to Short-Rotation Woody Crops for Biomass Energy

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Varietal forestry appears poised to make significant contributions to the production of woody crops for timber, pulp and paper, and biomass energy in the southeastern United States. The projected productivity gains with southern pine somatic seedling technology make a strong case for adopting parallel technologies with southern hardwoods. Systems for producing somatic seedlings of multiple southern hardwoods have been developed and in some aspects are already more amenable to scale-up and manipulation than conifer systems. The feasibility of scaling up production of elite, varietal hardwoods using somatic embryogenesis has already been established. By combining this propagation system with hybrid breeding, thousands of somatic seedlings of elite hybrid sweetgum and hybrid yellow-poplar have been generated, some of which have shown impressive biomass productivity in field tests. Varietal, blight-resistant chestnuts now being developed may have even greater potential to be deployed for biomass plantations and other applications in the southern Appalachians.

Keywords: hardwood trees; hybrid breeding; somatic embryogenesis; varietal forestry

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
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