Department of Forest Tree Species Biology and Breeding
In the context of a comprehensive program, the Department of Forest Tree Species Biology and Breeding addresses problems of breeding, including preservation and reproduction of the forest tree species gene pool, together with preparation and realization of breeding programmes. The Department undertakes programmes for individual forest tree species on preservation of genetic variability. Other studies of forest tree species include genetically conditioned variability in relation to geographical and changing environmental conditions and adaptive abilities to site conditions and effects of human interaction. The Chief of Department is Ing. Pavlína Máchová, Ph.D. and Ing. Helena Cvrčková, Ph.D. is Deputy.
Main orientation of research, cooperation
The Department of Forest Tree Species Biology and Breeding conforms to the requirements of state forest policy, which correspond with international conventions from resolutions of the world ecological and forest conferences (cf. 10th International Forestry Congress Paris 1991, the Earth Summit Rio de Janeiro 1992, and ministerial conferences Forest Europe /former MCPFE/ Strasbourg 1990, Helsinki 1993, Lisbon 1998, Vienna 2003, Warsaw 2007, Oslo 2011, Madrid 2015, Bratislava 2021). These conventions, which have made recommendations to the governments of individual European countries, include cooperative international programmes, aimed at addressing the issues of forest tree species breeding and improvement, preservation and reproduction of forest tree species gene pool. A further important consideration of these programmes is the restoration and stabilization of original species biodiversity in biocenology regions, especially in the areas damaged both by industrialization or excessive exploitation (e.g. EU Program EUFORGEN, etc.).
As a matter of priority, considerable attention is directed to the study of genetically conditioned variability of forest tree species in relation to geographical and changing environmental conditions, including adaptive abilities to site conditions and human interaction. Besides the classical methods (provenance trials, hybridisation projects, progeny testing of forest tree species reproductive material sources), advanced methods of molecular biology (isoenzyme and DNA analyses) are used for the study of genetic variability, which enables to acquire more reliable information about the genome of forest tree species in various stages of their development. Breeding programmes having been crafted for individual forest tree species which are focused not only on research aimed at increasing the quality of the species as well as the volume production and resistance, but also the necessity of partial populations’ genetic variability preservations (e.g. establishment of seed orchards and clone archives). For breeding purposes, more then 300 long-term experimental plots have been established over the last 40 years, in the context of both national and international research projects. Breeding processes that can be used for biodiversity preservation have been comprehensively studied and new biotechnological methods for micro-propagation of forest trees species have been tested and developed. Research on gene manipulations has focused on the utilization of transgenic forest tree species in forestry breeding. This comprehensive breeding program includes sub programmes aimed at optimization of utilization of both generative and vegetative reproduction of broadleaved and coniferous tree species genetic sources. The Department’s responsibility also includes a comprehensive program of forest biodiversity protection.
Other areas of study are also included in the continuous activities and long-term strategic tasks of the Department relate to silviculture, forest protection and forest management.
Counselling and expert activities are aimed especially on biotechnological procedures, testing of reproductive material quality by molecular markers and on applied breeding of forest tree species.
Fundamental research results applied in forestry practice
- Adoption of forest stands classification for seed management and breeding purposes.
- Actualisation of principles of selected forest tree species reproductive material zoning.
- Formulation of proposal of treatments oriented to preservation and reproduction of forest tree species genetic sources.
- Formulation of principles oriented to both modifications of species composition in forest stands in the Czech Republic (1994) and providing of valuable forest tree species reproductive material for forest management (1996).
- Long-term breeding programmes for the majority of both coniferous and broadleaved forest tree species.
- Preservation of valuable populations of forest tree species in archive of explants.
- Testing of forest tree species reproductive material sources.
- Genetic screening of forest tree species populations.