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More than a score: 21 eucalypt species with plantation potential
The genus Eucalyptus, native to Australia and the northern islands, is one of the keystone species for plantation forestry. Their natural durability, relatively fast growth rate and broad climatic range have led to interest at a global scale, with eucalypt plantings in almost every continent. By 2008 estimates of total eucalypt plantations worldwide had increased to almost 20 million hectares, with India accounting for 22%, Brazil 20% and China 14% (GIT Forestry 2008). Most plantings of eucalypts have been established to supply fibre to pulpwood markets, however interest is increasing in other products including solid wood, veneer, charcoal and biomass (Nichols et al. 2010).
Although Eucalyptus contains over 700 different species, almost all plantations are favoured towards a very small number of species that have a proven track record of excellent performance. These eucalypts, or the ‘Big Nine’ as they have been referred to (Harwood 2011), include Eucalyptus camaldulensis, E. grandis, E. tereticornis, E. globulus, E. nitens, E. urophylla, E. saligna, E. dunnii, and E. pellita, with these (and their hybrids) accounting for more than 90% of the total area of planted Eucalyptus forests worldwide (Stanturf et al. 2013). These nine genera have been studied extensively and are known to achieve the highest productivity and value relative to any other species in most regions. However, a use for other species is present in regions that have been unable to support these highly productive eucalypts, or require a different product to be produced. While unlikely to achieve the same performance as the main plantation species, a different species may be financially viable in specific climatic niches where those main species are maladapted to the conditions, which may include aridity, biotic pressure, temperature range and soil composition.
This report aims to evaluate the currently available literature pertaining to the commercial potential of different Eucalyptus species, focusing on species of which the “Central America and Mexico Coniferous Resources Cooperative” (Camcore) does not have an existing family level species collection. The intent of this review is to identify species that may be of interest to Camcore members, and help to direct eucalypt species collections for the next five to fifteen years. With consultations from industry professionals, this report has identified 21 species that, with correct climate, site and provenance selection, either have the potential to perform at a commercially viable standard, or have been proven to do so.
North Carolina State University
Commissioning bodyCamcore, USA
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
Place of publicationHobart, Tasmania