Tree Breeding Strategy Developed – a Tool for Political Decisions


Tree breeding will focus on six tree species (© Thünen-Institut/Michael Welling)

The demand for wood is increasing. Besides the energy sector, the drivers are the traditional timber consumers as well as an increasing industrial and chemical demand for wood. To serve this demand, it is necessary to develop a supply strategy. An important factor in this context is forest tree breeding.

A major aim of forest tree breeding is to provide forest reproductive material which is adaptable and well-performing to be able to cope with the predicted environmental changes (e.g., climate change). Forest tree breeding can only provide visible results if all remaining tree breeding institutions at the federal and state level in Germany cooperate closely, sharing the task among each other, and if the financial support is not only short-term, but  medium-term securing a 15-year period. This was pointed out clearly at the third meeting of the Forest Strategy 2020 and at the BMEL-workshop “Forest Tree Breeding”.

Strategic focus on six tree species

In accordance with comparable strategies in foreign countries as well as the available capacities, forest tree breeding in Germany will focus on six species and species groups (Douglas fir, sycamore maple, Norway spruce, Scots pine, larch, and oak).

Different aspects were taken into account in the choice of the species. On the one hand, species were chosen which are expected to show clear breeding progress within the 15-year period. On the other hand, the future orientation of forest management in view of the climate change has to be considered, as well as the predicted demand for products and services of the forests.

Intensity and type of breeding will differ by species. This ranges from testing stands by their progenies (e.g., oaks) to the establishment of seed orchards (e.g., sycamore maple) and controlled crosses (e.g., larches). The predicted average wood volume increase within the 15-year breeding period is estimated at between 10 % and 30 %. Over a longer period the value of the standing volume can be expected to increase by 20 %.


Strategie zur mittel- und langfristigen Versorgung mit hochwertigem forstlichem Vermehrungsgut durch Züchtung in Deutschland (2013)
Thünen Report 7

Neue Perspektiven der Züchtung für Douglasie und Waldkiefer
AFZ Wald 70(11)

Vermehrungsgut für klima- und standortgerechten Wald
AFZ Wald 70(11)