Vegetative propagation of conifers

Punkaharju (Lusto) 10-11 Sept 2008

Home page of meeting:

Proceedings: Aronen, Tuija, Nikkanen, Teijo & Tynkkynen, Tiina (eds.). 2009. Vegetative propagation of conifers for enhancing landscaping and tree breeding.. Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 114. 80 s. ISBN 978-951-40-2154-1:

The day before the conference, the arrangers (Tuija and Teijo, to the left) discussed with the Prime Minister of Finland (Matti, to the right), I assume they finalize the last details about the conference arrangements.


Dag Lindgren's powerpoint presentation at the Finnish conference was about cross forestry (family-forestry, controlled cross forestry) amplified by vegetative propagation (some of the slides shown here were hidden at the actual lecture). . Here is my contribution to proceeding....

Lindgren D 2009. A way to utilise the advantages of clonal forestry for Norway spruce? Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 114: 08–15.

 When I was suggested to make a presentation in Finland, I got the idea I should make an effort to get some of the ideas actually implemented in Sweden to get motivated to think on the issue. That is also a motive to enrich this page and another which is more Swedish with links. Now it seems I will be more successful than I dreamt about, or is it just a coincidence?








Tuija with another Matti managing an object of the conference theme, vegetative propagation of a conifer.


Information about vegetative propagation, clonal forestry, family forestry and controlled cross forestry:

Metla report about the meeting:

Clonal variations in Picea abies stockplants produced by somatic embryogenesis and their use in cutting propagation programs”, by Mohammed S. Lamhamedi and Denise Tousignant

Seminarium Dag Lindgren Ekebo 2006-12-19 Klonskogsbruk, en misslyckad ansats att förse svenskt skogsbruk med högvärdigt skogsodlingsmaterial?

Lindgren D 2002. Advantages of clonal propagation. In Welander M & Zhu L H. Proceedings of Workshop on high quality birch – clonal propagation and wood properties. August 27-28, 2001. Pp 98-109. ISBN 91-576-6250-9. Distribution: SLU, SE 230 53 Alnarp.

I was in contact in November 2008 with a NZ company silviculturist who was the one who demonstrated the "family forestry" system in practical forestry with radiata on my sabbatical in NZ 1993. He said that;
"Family forestry by means of cuttings has paid of for us: We had 7500 temporary inventory plots available established over 2 rotations; we have seen a substantial lift in productivity based upon age 10 inventories in stands established with control pollinated cuttings. Clonal forestry looks at the moment still a bridge too far; two companies are pioneering clonal forestry and have made inroads but there are still teething problems and high prices - I think that the price has to come down to CP cuttings or there about first."

I got an email early 2009 from the responsible of genetics in southern US about the SE clonal forestry etc.:
"As for SE (somatic embryos) I would guess the number sold last year was 7 to 8 million. The market might have been closer to 14 million if they had been available. Both of the main suppliers have evidently had some scale up problems that have temporarily prevented higher production levels. There were also about 30 million control pollinated full sib trees sold. These are primarily going to a niche market of rich landowners. This year will be a real test to see if these people still have any enthusiasm as the stock market drains their investment cash and stumpage prices are down."

Conference: (Charleston 22-25 July 2008, "Varietal" Forestry). Comments: the conference was arranged by IEG40, but there is no information about what that is. There were slightly less than 100 participants. There is no information who is the responsible person or organisation. The only address given seem to be the email to a professional conference manager site without a name given. I wrote an email asking who was responsible, but got no reply. ArborGen arranged the meeting, but they seem remarkable discrete about that. The meeting seemed open to anyone, I could have registered. No proceedings will appear. The only speaker and participant from Europe was Steve Lee, who describes the UK version of a controlled cross operation under the title "Sitka spruce family forestry in the UK. Who could ask form more?" It is similar to the Ireland operation described elsewhere on this web. This makes it likely that the Sitka operation is the largest vegetative propagation operation in Europe and that the interest in "real" clonal forestry in Europe is low. It is a bit surprising that no more European participated considering the large interest vegetative propagation and SE seems to attract in e.g. Sweden. Three lectures from the meeting are available here, Isik Fikrit can be said to give the ideology of clonal forestry, but without going deep into the arguments beside gain (e.g. time, cost and alternatives):
Steve Lee has given me his lecture explaining the UK Sitka spruce family forestry with some enthusiasm

Use of vegetative propagation (a first step of SE followed by cuttings) for Sitka spruce on Ireland

Advertisement of nursery selling Sitka rooted cuttings (cost magnitude 40c/plant, added cost over seedlings of magnitude 15c)

I got and inserted a number of links from Queebec, they do not seem to work now, if they work later I can use them.

Seed size and family effects on vegetative propagation rates of stock plants for the mass cutting propagation of white spruce (Picea glauca) in Québec”, by Denise Tousignant, Mohammed S. Lamhamedi, Fabienne Colas and Michel Rioux

Om SE i Queebec

Det har fördelar att hålla olika frö-fraktioner isär vid produktion av plantor avsedda för sticklingsproduktion

Bra sticklingar av gran kan erhållas med SE-förökade plantor som moderplantor

Sticklingsproduktionsstatistik från Queebec

Meeting of the Nordic Group for the Management of Genetic Resources of Trees
Clonal forestry - Who are you kidding? Many powerpoint-shows
The meeting took place between 3rd to 5th September 2002 in Edinburgh.   or

Lindgren D and 2003. Full sib forestry. Unpublished manus

Species or wide provenance hybrids
Evidently bulk propagation of controlled crosses is an excellent way of utilizing hybrid advantages, where such has been proven. Luc Paque (080808 on TREEBREEDEX discussion web said):  "For hybrid larch, I pushed quite much on vegetative propagation (bulk) of full-sib families for many reasons including better control of hybrid purity, quicker turn-over of improved varieties, easier construction of hybrid family mixtures, etc" In Queensland Australia there is a CP forestry program with hoop pine comprising 700 ha/year, now all plantings are with CP.
Pâques L.E. 2002. Larch Tree Improvement Programme in France. In Proc. Larix 2002 International Conference, Gap (France), September 16-21, 2002. pp. 104-118.
Harrison A.J., Hoffmann D., Kannenberg N., Lelu M.A., Verger M., Le Pichon C., Bourlon V., Thompson D. 2002. Devlopments in Hybrid larch (Larix x eurolepis Henry) vegetative propagation in North Western Europe. In Proc. Larix 2002 International Conference, Gap (France), September 16-21, 2002. pp. 250-265.

Undergraduate lectures Dag Lindgren 2003:
Clonal Forestry
Genetic diversity

Karl-Anders Högberg thesis 2003.

Cellfor comment:    and


Dag Lindgren had a presentation in a meeting in Poland 2007 with some relevance: Norway spruce breeding in Sweden is based on clone testing  The powerpoint show was updated in Kaunas in April 2008.  Manuscript Dendrobiology in press.

Hardwoods etc. There is a market for in vitro plants of hardwoods (and different non-forest plants) and they are also an easier and more well-established technologically to do, thus there are more options for vegetative propagation but the plants are more expensive (beyond what may create an interest on the ordinary forest plant market in Northern Europe.
The price for a wild cherry in vitro plant (clone) is in the magnitude 2€

Dag Lindgren luftar ibland sina synpunkter på SLUs forskarblogg och har deltagit i ett replikskifte som har anknytning till konferensens ämne:
forskarbloggen: Framtidens skogsbruk eller… miljörörelsen är utbränd!

A slide from Metla forest picture show summarizes what is experienced as difficulties:

Familjeskogsbruk. Ingångslänkar till svensk propagandakampanj

About other matters in Punkaharju than the conference:
Finland Forest Research Institute suggests improving its competitive edge and abilities to do research by closing its main forest genetic research centre!! (There are people good at formulating news both at the Metla board and some of the proponents for clonal forestry!). Not quite surprising after the visit by the Finnish prime minister in Sept mentioned above, it came a  statement by Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Sirkka-Liisa Anttila, in Nov 2008 that the forest research and breeding activities at Punkaharju will continue. Still it may not be the last word. But Finland has observed the approaching downs in conjunctures and that is predicted to hit especially hard in the areas where research station were suggested to be closed so that is a strong reason for the Finnish government to place the issue on ice, at least till there is a new government....

Last edit 2009-06-09