Selection, mobilisation and evaluation for Douglas fir

Selection, mobilisation and evaluation for Douglas fir
DateProject completed
The FCBA technology institute, INRAE and ONF have pooled their trials on Douglas-fir genetics to select an improvement population that meets the expectations of the industry. This selection explores the diversity present in the Douglas-fir's area of origin with descendants from Washington and Oregon as well as from California. The improvement population will be evaluated and conserved as the basis for a longer-term breeding program.

The renewal of the Douglas fir forest, a major challenge!

With a surface area of 400,000 ha, a current harvest of just over 2 Mm3 and a future harvest that should be around 6 Mm3 in 2030, Douglas fir is a major forest species in France. Each year, about 10 million Douglas-fir seedlings are sold in France, which represents a reforested area of about 7,000 ha, and this area should increase with the increase in harvesting.

It is therefore essential that the seed orchards used can meet the expectations of the sector (adaptation to climate change and wood quality that best meets the expectations of manufacturers) and increase the competitiveness of companies using Douglas fir.
The Douglas fir orchards currently used in France are the result of 8 French seed orchards, which were planted between 1978 and 1989. The age of these orchards ranges between 26 and 37 years: it is therefore necessary to plan their renewal now, given that it takes about ten years between the time an orchard is planted and its entry into production.


25 years of scientific monitoring at the service of the sector

Récolte des greffons par grimpage

The exceptional network of trials currently available is a major argument that reinforces the need to renew the current orchards. Indeed, INRAE, FCBA and ONF have installed for a little more than 25 years numerous comparative plantations of provenances but especially of families from the whole natural area. These comparative plantings have been set up in France in the major Douglas-fir regions (Burgundy, Limousin, etc.), but also in more southerly locations. They represent more than 200 ha where all the trees are monitored foot by foot and therefore constitute a reservoir for selecting trees to produce new varieties that are better adapted, more efficient, or that take into account new characteristics (drought resistance, wood quality, etc.) and to ensure the long-term improvement of the species.


Elevage des plants greffés au PNRGF-ONF de Peyrat le Chateau
Breeding of grafted plants at the PNRGF-ONF in Peyrat le Chateau