Genetics of Shortleaf and Longleaf Pine in Seed Orchards

Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystems have been dwindling for decades. Restoration is a huge priority for the USDA Forest Service, the Longleaf Pine Alliance, the Shortleaf Pine Initiative, and many others. Restoration requires seed, and on National Forest System lands the seed comes from USDA Forest Service seed orchards. The…  More 

New Seed Orchards Installed with Camcore

Andy Whittier has collected hundreds of thousands of seeds during his 17 years with Camcore and the USDA Forest Service. Whittier regularly tests seed germination rates in order to evaluate their quality. That’s how he ended up with 1,200 Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) in a greenhouse in Waynesville, North Carolina. The hemlocks were healthy three-year-old…  More 

Oak Regeneration and Acorn Size

Oak regeneration is an oft-discussed topic in forestry. The trees aren’t sustainably generating in many upland temperate forests due to a variety of factors — including the fact that they are less competitive than other, more sun-loving species such as tulip poplar. One way that forest managers are responding to this issue is artificial oak…  More 

Hybrids in the Seed Orchards

Shortleaf pine is under siege, and one of the threats has emerged in seed orchards. “In some shortleaf seed orchards, 10 percent of trees are hybrids,” says U.S. Forest Service research geneticist Dana Nelson. “Although the majority we’d consider shortleaf pine, even a few hybrids is enough to raise concern.” To some extent, shortleaf and…  More 

Saving the Genetic Treasures of Southern Forests

People have saved seeds since the dawn of agriculture, but scientists at the Southern Research Station (SRS) are doing something new–combining modern genetics and the silvicultural strategy of seed orchards to preserve the genetic heritage of the South’s most at risk- and most ecologically important trees. Trees across the Southeast face exotic pests, shrinking ranges and…  More