Interior Broadleaf Tree Breeding Program

Interest in British Columbia's broadleaf tree species is rapidly growing, due to their commercial and biodiversity potential.

There are two interior broadleaf genetics programs in B.C.

Interior Hybrid Poplar

The goal of the interior hybrid poplar program was to provide fast-growing hybrid poplar clones that were well-adapted to climatic conditions in the interior of B.C. for short rotation intensive culture (SRIC) projects. The objective was to test native cottonwood in northern environments, select the best clones and cross them with improved material from eastern North America.

Instead of baseline testing, untested local cottonwood clones (Populus trichocarpa) from interior B.C. were shipped to Washington for crossing. Several hybrids were created between local black cottonwood and several other non-local species:

  • P. deltoides
  • P. nigra
  • P. maximowiczii

In total, 55 hybrid clones were included in the Red Rock provenance-clonal trial and 24 had one or more parent originating in northern environments. After five years of testing, several fast-growing, well adapted clones were selected and a stoolbed was established at the Skimikin Seed Orchard.

Interior Paper Birch

The interior paper birch genecology and selection program has three testing series that have provided information about population and family variation in the northern and southern interior of B.C. These tests include information at the population and family level and have resulted in the creation of a seed orchard for southern interior populations and seed zones.

  • Carlson, M. R., Berger, V. G. and Hawkins, C. D. B. 2000. Seed source testing of paper birch (Betula papyrifera) in the interior of British Columbia. Journal of Sustainable Forestry. 10: 25-34.
  • Simpson, D. G., Binder, W. D. and L'Hirondelle, S. 2000. Paper birch genecology and physiology: spring dormancy release and fall cold acclimation. Journal of Sustainable Forestry. 10: 191-198.
  • Benowicz, A., Guy, R., Carlson, M. R. and El-Kassaby, Y. A. 2001. Genetic variation among Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) populations in germination, frost hardiness, gas exchange and growth. Silvae Genetica. 50: 7-13.