Major Areas

Division > Genetics and Tree Improvement > Major Areas

Provenance research

  • Provenances of Casuarina equisetifolia, C. junghuniana, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, E. tereticornis, E. grandis, Acacia auriculiformis, A. mangium, and A. nilotica  were introduced from native locations and tested in different regions of southern India. The best performing provenances in terms of adaptability, fast growth, tree form and wood properties were identified and recommended for planting and further breeding.C. junghuhniana was found to be tolerant to drought and diseases. Compared to C. equisetifolia, this species has good coppicing potential.
  • Genetic resources and ex-situ conservation stands of Eucalyptus, Casuarinas, Teak, Acacia, Neem and Artocarpus spp. have been established in the form of SSO, CSO, SPA and Clone bank in Southern India
Breeding programs

Breeding programs were initiated for Eucalypts and Casuarina in 1995 for improving the productivity in plantations. First generation breeding populations were established with introductions from natural stands of Australia and South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand, PNG and Indonesia. These breeding populations have been converted to first generation seedling seed orchards (SSO) and it will serve as the base material for initiating further improvement in each species.

Seed orchard

  • Seedling seed orchards of Eucalyptus, Casuarina and Acacia were established at different locations in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry. The performance of the orchard seed was evaluated and it is estimated that a gain of 10-15% would be obtained.

  • Quality seeds are collected from these seed orchards every year and supplied to Forest Departments, Industries and Farmers in different parts of the country.

Clonal testing

  • Clonal propagation technology for Teak and Neem has been developed to produce quality planting stock and augment productivity
  • Superior trees of Teak, Neem and Eucalyptus have been selected, multiplied clonally and established field trials for selecting outstanding clones.

Reproductive biology

A study on quantifying phenological variations was conducted in different Teak and Tamarind populations within Peninsular India. Teak and Tamarind showed 1-6% fruit set under open pollinated condition. A major cause for low fruit set in Teak was found to be structural and functional differences between flowers within an inflorescence. Controlled pollination in Teak was successful up to 70% but retention of fruits was only 10 – 20%. A case study in Tamarind clones clearly indicated that this species has very low levels of self-compatibility. However, controlled pollination increases fruit set up to 90% in Tamarind.

Hybridization program

To enhance productivity in Eucalyptus tereticornis inter specific hybridization programs have been initiated. The experiments envisage in combining the desirable economic traits of different species. Hybrids of E. tereticornis x E. camaldulensis, E. grandis, E. pellita, E. urophylla and E. alba have been developed and deployed in field tests in coastal and inner wet agro climatic conditions. Hybridization programs to improve Tamarind by combining red pulp varieties with high yielding clones is currently under progress.

Genetic diversity

  • Genetic variation within and among ten populations of Teak from Western Ghats and Central Indian regions was studied using DNA (RAPD) markers. The results showed high levels of genetic variability among different populations. The overall diversity among populations was 0.3 . Central Indian and Western Ghats populations were found to be genetically distinct.

  • Reconnaissance survey was undertaken in different parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to identify natural populations of Artocarpus species namely, Artocarpus integrifolia, A. hirsuta and A. lakoocha. Variations in tree morphology, fruit bearing habit, fruit quality, seed characteristics have been studied. Through isozyme analysis it is found that Kolli hills population of A. integrifolia is unique compared to other populations.