Lodgepole Pine Tree Breeding Program
The lodgepole pine breeding and orchard program is one of the largest in British Columbia. The program's main focus is the interior variety of lodgepole pine found east of the Coastal Mountains. Nearly half of all trees planted annually in B.C. are lodgepole pine with about 30 percent resulting from seed orchards.
The five main low-elevation zones containing large lodgepole pine breeding and orchard programs:
- Prince George
- Bulkley Valley
- Central Plateau
Several small programs service lower-priority areas. In B.C., there are 26 seed orchards producing seed for lodgepole pine with enhanced growth properties and one orchard that produces trees that are resistant to western gall rust.
The lodgepole pine breeding program started in the 1970s with the establishment of one of the largest and most famous common garden studies in the world, known as the Illingworth Trials. Testing of trees for seed orchard production started in the 1980s.
The primary intention of the program was to produce fast-growing trees while maintaining good wood quality, proper tree form and adequate levels of genetic variation for natural processes to deal with uncertain future challenges.