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Veronica Emhart, Forestal Mininco S.A., Veronica.Emhart@forestal.cmpc.cl
Rafael Rubilar, Departamento de Silvicultura, Universidad de Concepcion - Forest Productivity Cooperative, rafaelrubilar@udec.cl (Presenter)
Jose Stape, North Carolina State University, jlstape@ncsu.edu
Thomas Fox, Virginia Tech, trfox@vt.edu

 

Eucalyptus species in Chile have become dominant on Chilean landscape mainly focused on fiber for forest pulp industries. Based on early species selection programs carried out by governmental agencies during the 80s and 90s, Eucalytpus globulus for warmer and drier environments, and E. nitens for colder/wetter sites were planted extensively reaching 97% of all planted land, approximately 1.5 million acres across central and southern Chile by 2010. Since 1990 two strategies were carried for these major species: a) increased selection for off-site conditions focusing on frost and cold tolerance/resistance for E. globulus given its higher quality for pulping industries; b) increased selection for E. nitens yield and pulping quality, in combination with E. globulus fiber mix at industrial process. Strategies carried during this period allowed successful plantings to extend across good quality sites and tp some extent at off-site conditions. However, during the last decade, increase in demand for Eucalyptus fiber by forest industries and reduced land availability has challenged us to extend Eucalyptus to off-site conditions. Advanced genetic programs have developed E. globulus x nitens, E.globulus x camaldulensis, E.nitens x camaldulensis hybrid genotypes with outstanding results. Potential for colder environments exists by combining species such as E. viminalis, E. delegatensis and E. benthamii; and for drier and warmer sites E. camaldulensis and E. cladocalyx. Hybrids may become tremendous opportunities for occupying harsher environments, but may require understanding of GxE interactions. Physiological and genomic work is expected to provide key information for carrying out future strategies on genetic programs.