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Update:November 5, 2013

1. Development of new varieties

Selection of Second -and advanced- generation plus trees

Growth and wood quality is one of the key factors for the success of tree-plantation business.Currently most tree stocks of Sugi (Cryptmeria japonica) or Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtuse) plantation trees are produced from the clonal seed orchard composed of the first-generation plus trees.
We have implemented the second-generation plus tree selection by collaborating with local government and institutions in order to provide new varieties with better growth and wood quality.

         

 Candidate of 2nd-generation plus tree of Hinoki     Collecting scion for grafting of candidate tree       Clone bank of the candidates of 2nd-generation plus tree of Sugi

PWN- (Pine wood nematode) resistance breeding

The pine wilt disease is an epidemic of Japanese native pines caused by pine wood nematode (PWN, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) carried by longhorn beetle (Monochamus alternatus). This disease had outbreak first in the vicinity of the port of Nagasaki, in Meiji era, 1905.In 1960's this disease becomes epidemic in western part of Japan, followed by the extension to the eastern and northern part of Japan.Now all area of Japan except Hokkaido is under infection.
We have developed PWN-resistant varieties of Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) and Japanese black pine (P.thunbergii) by collaborating with prefectures' research center.

Development method of resistant varieties

              

 Collecting pine cones from the         Preparation of seedlings for inoculation          Inoculation test of pine wood nematode                 Selection of resistant trees

 outbreak damaged area                    test of pine wood nematode

Reforestation of pine stand

         

        Clonal seed orchard of resistant varieties                   Plantation of PWN-resistant red pine to the                Plantation of PWN-resistant black pine to the

                                                                                    damaged mountain                                                   coastal area

Breeding for reduction of Pollen allergy symptom

The allergy associated with tree pollen has been a big issue in Japan. We have developed “less-pollen varieties” of Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) or Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa) by selecting from the plus tree population. These varieties will not or rarely flower in the average flowering seasons and flower a little (less than 1% of average tree) even in the abundant flowering seasons.
Pollen-free (male-sterile) varieties of Sugi are also developed from breeding materials. Such varieties produce male flower but no pollen formulated in anther of male flower. “Sugi Mie-funen (Kansai) 1” is one of the pollen-free varieties developed in the Kansai Regional Breeding Office, FTBC in 2007. Now we are trying to develop advanced generation of pollen-free varieties with superior growth and wood quality by cross breeding with plus tree population.

Development of less-pollen varieties of Sugi

We have selected Sugi plus tree clones producing much less pollen than ordinary tree of Sugi.

               Less-pollen variety of Sugi                                Ordinary tree of Sugi

Development of Less-pollen varieties of Hinoki

We have also selected Hinoki plus tree clones producing less pollen than ordinary one.

    

             Ordinary tree of Hinoki Many male flowers can be observed                           Less-pollen variety of Hinoki No male flowers are observed

Development of pollen-free varieties of Sugi

Pollen-free variety was found in 2007 from breeding materials and named “Sugi Mie-Funen (Kansai) 1”.

    

                    Sugi Mie-Funen (Kansai) 1                                            Ordinary tree of Sugi

Variety with superior wood quality

Survey of wood quality at progeny trial site

Concerning the obligation of quality labeling and the standardization of dried wood materials for construction purpose, the demand for the varieties with higher wood quality is increased.
We have been measuring wood quality of each family or clone in the progeny trial sites, with non-destructible methods, i.e.Fakopp for young’s modulus, Pyllodyn for stiffness and FFT for water content.

Development of variety with superior carbon fixation ability

For a measure against global warming, tree trunk is one of the good material for the carbon fixation. We have selected plus trees that have higher ability of carbon fixation by estimating quantity of the trunk. Trunk quantity can be estimated with volume by specific density.
We have developed 25 varieties for Sugi by 2009. Now we have been measuring specific density of plus trees for Hinoki by Pillodyn.

2. Collection and conservation/preservation of forest tree genetic resources

Forest tree gene bank program

Forest tree genetic resources have been providing various services to the human activity, science and technology development. These genetic resources have to be conserved and preserved to the future generations. However some of the important natural resources are facing risks of losing genetic diversity or even extinction.Therefore, we have been conducting exploration and collection of important genetic resources such as natural monument, endangered tree species and forest giants.
Since 1985, “National Gene Bank Program” had been implemented under Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and after 2001, “Forest Tree Gene Bank Program” has been implemented under incorporated administrative agency FTBC (currently a part of Forestry and Forest Product Research Institute, FFPRI).

Exploration and collection of forest tree genetic resources

We have been collecting various forest tree genetic resources such as economically important forestry species including target species of tree improvement, forest giants, historical trees, and rare species.
Collected genetic resources are preserved as seeds, pollens or planted trees cloned by grafting or cutting techniques. We are also investigating their traits during several years to evaluate their potential usages as the genetic resources.That information is distributed for research purpose in the open-access database.

    

       Collecting scion from 15m above the ground                                         Grafting of chestnuts

Emergency call of natural heritage trees’ bank services

Natural heritage trees and trees with long and distinguished history are the asset of local community or objects of faith as well as biological resources. Upon the request for clonal propagation of such trees, FTBC propagates clonal successor saplings by cutting or grafting. These successor saplings will be returned to the original site while conserving in FTBC as research materials.

    

                    “Itozakura of Konoe House”                                      Returning event of successor saplings of 

                 (at the imperial garden in Kyoto)                        “Itozakura of Konoe House”(at the imperial garden in Kyoto)

Distribution of breeding materials

Collected or developed breeding materials are stocked in our garden. For example, first- and second-generation plus trees of Sugi and Hinoki, PWN-resistant red and black pines, pollen-free variety of Sugi, less-pollen varieties of Sugi and Hinoki. Upon the request from prefectures’ research center, these materials are propagated by grafting or cutting and then the saplings are distributed to the user.
Distributed saplings are used for establishment of seed orchard or scion garden in the requested prefectures property. Seedlings produced from these orchards are provided to the individual forest owners through plant stock makers.

    

                          Scion garden of Sugi plus trees                                                             Post grafting treatment