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Gene Hundley, MWV, gene.hundley@mwv.com (Presenter)

 

In 2005, MWV began research investigations of various eucalyptus species in southeastern Texas and the bordering parishes of southwestern Louisiana. The early field trials were located near the MWV Evadale, Texas paperboard mill. The impetus for these investigations was to evaluate the potential of ecualyptus as a supplemental hardwood fiber for the Evadale Mill. Positive results in early field trials prompted MWV to accelerate its effort to a production scale in 2009. The MWV planting program is now at 3,000 acres per year, targeting an eight-year rotation and total plantation acreage of 25,000 acres. The potential exists for eucalyptus to be a meaningful hardwood fiber source in the target region. A significant amount of work remains to be done refining site preparation and early cultural treatments. Optimizing cultural regimes, particularly competition control and nutrition, is being actively addressed by Virginia Tech./NCSU Forest Productivity Cooperative and others. Genetic improvement and inter-specific hybridization show potential to deliver rapid improvements in cold hardiness. MWV is an active participant in the cooperative genetic improvement efforts based out of North Carolina State University as well as collaborations with multiple US and international partners. MWV and other interested Southern US eucalyptus growers are drawing heavily on the expertise and guidance of experienced breeders and growers from around the world to bring their technical development to the US.