Is France interested in seed orchards?
The last international meeting before 2007 focusing a considerable attention on seed orchards was a symposium about mass-propagation technology for fast growing tree species at Bordeaux 1992, France has been rather aggressive in seed orchards earlier. This attitude was also my impression from the French visitors I met in Sweden during the last decades. Recently it was flagged for a textbook about forest tree breeding in French on Forestgen (Nanson)!
I got a response from Luc Pique January 2008 (no one else responded), I summarize and edit:
Four INRA colleagues went to Quťbec at about the same time as the seed orchard conference to the Larix2007 IUFRO meeting and Canadian poplar meeting.
created hundreds of ha of seed orchards for many species, the Ministry has
decided to have no new seed orchard created in France on State 's funding. That
is a very troublesome situation for breeders who would like to see their
breeding progress into production ! Since nearly ten years, only very few
small-scale new orchards (two with wild cherry, one with ash, two with F2-hybrid
larch) have been created most generally with private funding. Breeders have
looked when possible to other production alternatives like bulk-vegetative
Cemagref, the traditional partner for seed orchard establishment, management and research on flower and fructification management, was obliged to leave the field of genetics, breeding and related matters. They just kept a role of experts for day-to-day management of existing orchards. That is why there were no Cemagref participation.
Forestry department has become a Ecology department, and the place of tree
breeding in this new department is difficult to justify!
Dag Lindgren response:
Of course it is little base for any conclusions about individual countries participation in my seed orchard meeting. But some general comments. An update of the Swedish seed orchard program is available at http://daglindgren.upsc.se/Umea07/Proceedings/LindgrenKarlssonSeedOrchard.pdf Since 1993 the Swedish state does not invest a penny in new seed orchards in Sweden, still seed orchards are build for the need of all Swedish nurseries by private funds. If private money can be raised for seed orchards in Sweden, where growth is slow and the average age of a tree in a final harvest is a century, why can not countries where the growth conditions are better convince their private interests to invest in seed orchards?
Is the government more positive to subsidize bulk-vegetative propagation as the researcher work more with that? Bulk propagated cuttings means an added cost on the plant price at a magnitude ten times more than a seed orchard seed, if private money are willing to use bulk propagated cuttings, why would they be unwilling to pay for seed orchards?
It is research in general which is rather hostile to seed orchards, e.g. it was not mentioned in the EU novel tree project. Seed orchards which are the most important cradle for novel trees? Which idiots are forming these invitations for projects?
Cannot genetically improved
seed orchard seeds by sold at a profit which pays for new seed orchards? In
situations where the
state has paid for the current seed orchards? The major
cost of seeds from a well managed seed orchard is not establishment or
management, it is harvesting and subsequent seed handling.