Why conifers? That is not be general over the world, but at least it seems a fact for my part of it. Look at the plant statistics for Sweden and Finland:
For Swedish forest plants delivered from forest nurseries 2004 the plants can be classified:
Clonal Forestry. In Sweden where has been at least two large scaled attempts to implement Norway spruce cuttings the past decades, both failed completely, mainly because forestry was not willing to pay the added cost for the added gain (about 0.05-0.1€/plant). Probably "södra" produces a few hundred thousand bulk cuttings from surplus cross seeds. Even if SE using the CELLFOR model seems a possible option, which has been developed over some decades, and now seems technologically and biologically feasible even for conifers in Sweden, it seems also likely that the added cost would be about 0.2€ (what it is for P taeda in south US, but CELLFOR probably does not make a profit out of the current US sales), and the long history about cuttings shows that technological development is not certain to do miracles with costs. It exists now some thousand SE plants in field experiments, some hundred clones are under multiplication for field testing, and when test results are available a larger production (some millions) may start if forestry believes that the gains pay the costs at that time (≈2020). Before expanding a magnitude more probably forestry would like to see how the first round of SE plants works in praxis after a decade before expanding a further magnitude. A minor part of the broadleaves are clones. The statistics above covers only forestry. On agriculture land e.g. Salix clones are grown as Energy crops, and e.g. apple trees are clones. In spite of half a century of resultless investments in research and development, forest research still see it as a priority area and do not stop to pure money over research and development.
Forty percent of the plants used in Sweden today origins from stands, and 60% of those stands are situated in Sweden. It is not possible to make large gains by better praxis in stand collections now, when the provenance question is rather well understood. I made a contribution to the discussion FORUM at the IUFRO WP breeding and progeny testing http://iufro.uncronopio.org/node/37 but got no good answer what to do to improve the genetic quality of the stand collections.
In my opinion Sweden has a well-deserved reputation for an early start and a well-thought over breeding program, but still it has not been well implemented into forestry, which prefers to day-dream about clones (see below) and GMOs. The simplest option to improve the situation is to increase the share of seed orchard seeds, and this is under way now in Sweden, but it takes two decades before that gets a major impact in the statistics and it can be seen if Swedish forestry really are leaving most of the Neolithic praxis behind.
But the conifer seed orchards can be much better, in particular by the genetic set up! The problems in the genetic design of orchards has become difficult and complex now, when there is an array of genotypes where the knowledge and breeding value estimates varies, and which are related in different patterns and belong to different generations. Where are many options for balancing factors. Thus improvement of conifer seed orchards is by far (a factor of at least 10) the most effective way to improve Swedish forests by breeding related actions. The situation is not drastically different for Finland.