Valuation of the Economic Benefits from Using Genetically Improved Forest Reproductive Materials in Afforestation
The research objective was to demonstrate the economic impact of using, in afforestation, forest reproductive materials (FRMs) obtained from seed trees selected in the most valuable Norway spruce populations of the FGRs' (forest genetic resources') category. The values obtained for the main growth traits (diameter at breast height (Dbh), tree height (Th), and tree volume (Tv)), both in the FGR and in the closest population (with the same age and growth in similar environmental conditions), were
... l conditions), were compared. Three comparative trials were analyzed, each belonging to different breeding levels: Open-pollinated (Breţcu, 40 years old), half-sib (Măneciu, 25 years), and full-sib (Comandău, 23 years). The difference in volume/hectare between the FGR and an unimproved neighbor population was economically quantified (€), based on the average price per cubic meter (m3) of spruce wood in Romania; the profit at the end of the rotation period (110 years) was projected taking into account the genetic gain that will result from the use of FRM collected from the FGRs. The average FGR growth results were superior to the unimproved neighbor populations, with 8%–13%, 14%–25%, and 26%–79% for Dbh, Th, and volume/ha, respectively, and the differences increased if the best 10% seed trees of the trials were used. For Th, a five times higher family mean heritability was registered for the pendula trees (compared to pyramidalis) in the half-sib trial, while in the full-sib experiment, the pendula trees (both full and half pendula) again registered higher heritability, but for Dbh, which recommends the pendula selection for different traits in the two trials. These results have led to a rate of profitability between 540 and 3366 €/ha, a value that is predicted to increase until the end of the rotation period, when the genetic gain could generate a profit of 7560 €/ha.