The main objective of the project is to make improved plant material available to the forestry sector in terms of characters of interest and adaptability to the changes that occur in the environment, at a biotic and/or abiotic level. To this end, in the first phase we have worked intensively to promote the radiata pine genetic improvement program initiated by NEIKER in the 90s.
The status of plus trees selected for their superiority in wood production characteristics and the tests associated with these individuals are evaluated to recover them and integrate them into a list of family progenitors useful for the generation of quality reproductive plant material. Likewise, in the context of the brown/red band being affected, we have made a selection of candidate trees that are less affected and maintain significant vigor against the disease. These candidates have been replicated annually and planted in the field for future evaluation regarding their tolerance to the disease.
In these years, special emphasis has been placed on the molecular characterization of all the plant material that we accumulate, together with other populations distributed along the Cantabrian Coast, and the genetic diversity has been analyzed. This evaluation gives us essential information to evaluate the potential for improvement and the necessary variability of the species to be resilient in the face of changes that occur in the environment. These actions will continue in the future with the validation of the candidate trees and the establishment of a network of trials with which to validate our candidate trees and begin the production of improved seed.
All this with the application and support of molecular techniques, thus advancing the improvement program. Likewise, the entire process and methodology that we are implementing for the radiata pine could be transferable to other forest species of interest.