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Advanced breeding and deployment methods for tropical acacias

This project builds on a substantial body of work in Vietnam in the breeding of acacia species and hybrids, which has enhanced the production of high-value germplasm required to meet the Government of Vietnam's objectives for an expanded plantation estate for sawlog and fibre production. Vietnam now has an acacia plantation estate of over 400,000 ha, including over 150,000 ha of clonal Acacia mangium X A. auriculiformis (A. hybrid), whose large-scale operational use has been pioneered by Vietnamese scientists. This project comprises a key element in a suite of linked ACIAR projects designed to underpin the sustainability of, and add value to, Vietnam's acacia and eucalypt plantation estates, and the processing industries based on them. The major objectives are: 1) to design and implement an enhanced clonal production and deployment strategy to deliver an ongoing stream of tested A. hybrid clones to tree farmers throughout Vietnam (the program will integrate appropriate breeding, seed production management, propagation and information management strategies); 2) to refine and demonstrate deployment strategies for sexually propagated A. mangium, to expand utilisation of seed from the elite selections planted in the Forest Science Institute of Vietnam orchards; 3) to continue development of new polyploid varieties with potential for improved wood properties and reproductive sterility. It is projected that the smallholder sector could contribute an additional $14 million per annum to the GDP within 7-10 years if new hybrid clones with higher wood basic density can be developed and deployed efficiently.