The forest tree species Khaya senegalensis (Desr.) A. Juss. occurs in a belt across 20 African countries from Senegal-Guinea to Sudan-Uganda where it is a highly important resource. However, it is listed as Vulnerable (IUCN 2015-3). Since introduction in northern Australia around 1959, the species has been planted widely, yielding high-value products. The total area of plantations of the species in Australia exceeds 15,000 ha, mostly planted in the Northern Territory since 2006, and includes substantial areas across 60-70 woodlots and industrial plantations established in north-eastern Queensland since the early-1990s and during 2005-2007 respectively. Collaborative conservation and tree improvement by governments began in the Northern Territory and Queensland in 2001 based on provenance and other trials of the 1960s-1970s. This work has developed a broad base of germplasm in clonal seed orchards, hedge gardens and trials (clone and progeny). Several of the trials were established collaboratively on private land. Since the mid-2000s, commercial growers have introduced large numbers of provenance-bulk and individual-tree seedlots to establish industrial plantations and trials, several of the latter in collaboration with the Queensland Government. Provenance bulks (>140) and families (>400) from 17 African countries are established in Australia, considered the largest genetic base of the species in a single country outside Africa. Recently the annual rate of industrial planting of the species in Australia has declined, and R&D has been suspended by governments and reduced by the private sector. However, new commercial plantings in the Northern Territory and Queensland are proposed. In domesticating a species, the strategic importance of a broad genetic base is well known. The wide range of first- and advanced-generation germplasm of the species established in northern Australia and documented in this paper provides a sound basis for further domestication and industrial plantation and woodlot expansion, when investment conditions are favourable.
IUFRO Research Group 3.08 Small-scale Forestry Conference, Sunshine Coast, Australia 11-15 October 2015
Small-scale and Community Forestry and the Changing Nature of Forest Landscapes, Proceedings from the IUFRO Research Group 3.08 Small-scale Forestry Conference / Meadows, John, Harrison, Steve R, Herbohn, John (eds): pp.169-188