Traditionally tree breeders have focussed on improving characters associated with growth and tree form, and more recently wood quality. The objective of STBA is to breed trees which improve the financial returns to its member companies. In Blue Gum the target is to improve profits from growing trees for use in pulp and paper. For Radiata Pine, the objective is to improve the value of the harvested product for use in producing solid wood products.
The Southern Tree Breeding Association Inc. (STBA) is the national body which manages the Australian tree improvement programs for Radiata Pine (Pinus radiata) and Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and provides genetic evaluation services in forest trees. Forest growers must source the best genetics to suit their production environments if they are to generate financial returns while addressing environmental needs.
The STBA was formed in 1983 to develop improved genetics for plantation forestry. The business is based in Mount Gambier, but has expanded to service member companies in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales , ACT, Tasmania and New Zealand . The STBA has consolidated genetic resources developed over more than sixty years by private companies, State and Federal Governments in order to breed better genetics more cost effectively.
Radiata Pine is the dominant softwood grown on more than 750,000 ha in Australia, targeting largely structural timber markets. Blue Gum plantations have expanded rapidly in the past two decades to more than 450,000 ha. This major hardwood species is grown on shorter rotations and targets chips for pulp and paper products.