In the series of monthly seminars, a seminar on ‘Genetically improved planting stock as an important and valuable resource for increasing productivity of plantation forests’ was organized on August 01, 2019 by the Division of Genetics and Tree Improvement, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun. The main aim of the seminar was to share knowledge of planting stock improvement for enhancement of productivity in plantation forest. A total of 73 delegate from various institutes, universities, industries and forest departments were participated in the seminar. The seminar was divided into two technical sessions besides the inaugural and panel sessions. A brief introduction was given by all the delegates at the beginning. Dr. Ashok Kumar, Scientist F & Head Division of Genetics and Tree Improvement welcomed all the delegates and presented an overview of the seminar. He postulated that the seminar supports future research of action and planning for productivity enhancement of plantation forest. He also gave an overview of the history, vision and mandate of the Genetics and Tree Improvement Division at FRI, along with brief highlights of activities and significant achievements. He also presented various ongoing research programme being executed by the division on Melia, Neem, Eucalypts, Polygonatum and forest conservation etc. with their significant achievements. An ambitious programme for neem improvement supported by IFFCO was also discussed focusing its importance to support national policy of 100% neem coated urea and progress achieved in selecting the genotypes with higher oil and azadirechtin content. The Chief Guest, Dr. Mohammad Yousuf, Scientist G, Officiating Director, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun addressed the gathering and highlighted the contribution of FRI in the tree improvement and productivity enhancement of plantation forestry. In inaugural session, key note address was given by Dr. A. Nicodamus (IFGTB, Coimbatore) on ‘Tree Improvement and Breeding: challenges for synthesis of hybrids’. He discussed case studies in which significant success was achieved through tree Improvement and breeding programmes in tree species like Teak, Eucallyptus, Casuarina. The major challenges to be meet by plantation forestry are to restrict wood import, meeting industrial demand, mitigating climate change etc. He presented model plan for long term tree breeding programme executed in Casuarina which started from 1991 with provenance trial and currently several varieties have been released for commercial cultivation in 2010, 2014 and 1017. A case study was shown for economic gain achieved by breeding efforts with recorded average gain of 20 tonnes/ha. The detailed procedure was discussed for synthesis of improved interspecific hybrids in Eucalyptus and Casuarina for various end user specific traits like fast growth, straightness, smooth bark, higher pulp yield etc.
The first technical session was started with the presentation by Shri Jagdish Chander, PCCF (Biodiversity) Haryana and highlighted the role and responsibilities of geneticist and breeders in forest management and planting stock improvement. Dr. Yogendra Singh, Professor, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar discussed techniques for acquiring disease resistance in genetically improved planting stock. The second technical session was started with the key note address on ‘Role of PPV&FRA in registering and protecting the clones and varieties of forest tree species’ by Dr. Ravi Prakash, Registrar, PPV&FRA, New Delhi detailing about benefits of registering the released varieties and clones as well as developing synergies between research institutes and industry. In this series, Dr. Ashok Kumar, Scientist F, Division of Genetics and Tree Improvement, FRI Dehradun discussed the procedure of release of tree varieties and their impact on society through the case studies of recently released varieties in Melia dubia and Eucalypts with emphases to release clones and varieties of forest trees for economic upliftment of the rural societies. The last presentation was given by Dr. Rajesh Sharma, Scientist G, Himalayan Forest Research Institute, Shimla on ‘DUS characterization in forest trees with special reference to conifers’. The seminar was ended with the panel discussion and recommendation for future roadmap and concluding remark of the Director, FRI, Dehradun.