Forest Reproductive Material and Forest Tree Breeding
Suitable origin and good quality of forest reproductive material are essential in forest regeneration. Forest tree seedlings and seeds sold must be healthy and meet the quality criteria set for them.
The trade of forest reproductive material is regulated through the Act on Trade in Forest Reproductive Material implementing Council Directive 1999/105/EC on the marketing of forest reproductive material. The responsible supervising authority is the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira.
The Natural Resources Institute Finland is responsible for forest tree breeding in Finland as its statutory duty. One of the foremost goal of the genetic improvement is the adaptation to climate change of future reforestation materials. In the southern part of the country the main commercial goal is improved volume growth of high quality timber whereas in northern Finland, the trait of highest importance is climatic hardiness, which in these circumstances also guarantees both good timber production and its high quality.
By using bred seed, a forest owner can achieve a 15–20 per cent growth increase in comparison with seed collected from a forest stand. Bred seed is produced in seed orchards. The foundation is based on the national seed orchard programme (2011) and it is financed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The foremost aim of the national forest tree breeding and the national seed orchard programs is to ensure the availability of genetically improved and well adapted material for forest regeneration.