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What is meant by "Elite Forest ? " It, in simple terminology, is one amalgam of elite trees that have been shown by progeny testing to produce superior offspring. Forests of this kind are reserved for the conservation of genes and seedlings that have high economic values.
Taiwan Forestry Bureau launched its "Taiwan Elite Forest" program in 1970, and so far 107 elite forests widespread in all forest working circles to help sustain Taiwan forest resources. Other efforts include participation in the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) in 1976, where Taiwan has access to exchange research information of tree seeds with other countries; the Bureau also stores elite tree seeds of 150 Taiwan significant conifers—such as the Taiwan Red Cypress, Taiwania, Taiwanese Incense Cedar, Taiwan yellow cypress—and broad-leaf trees—such as Camphor, Taiwan Zelkova, Formosan Alder, Formasan Michelia—for the endemic tree gene database.
Collection of tree saplings
People always expect more from the next generation. That is also true when talking about the "lungs of the city"—trees; their wellness functions on reserving water and soil, and purifying the air. Forest eugenics starts with sieving elite trees to make sure they have a healthy constitution and beautiful shape for next generations.
The mother trees can be either native or successfully introduced, and the criteria include species, shape, internal wellness, age, growth background, and more. In appearance, an elite tree has to be erect, solid, and pleasingly crowned; internal wellness is about resistibility to pests and plant diseases, drought, chill, etc. An elite tree has to be in its mature period; it would have few chances to produce perfect seedlings either in older or younger stages. Collecting seeds in an over-sized tree may be difficult as well.
Growth environment also matters. Generally speaking, a well-shone spot is the best for elite forest; that is to say, intervals between two trees should be distant enough for each to carry out photosynthesis and to stretch branches and leaves. While pollination from inferior trees, pests or diseases is of concern, elite forest must be kept at least 1 kilometer apart, and the exact separation depends on environmental factors such as wind direction, geography, precipitation, soil content and so on.
Successful elite trees are under great care, with attentive fertilization, priming, training, medication, and so on. The combination of excellent genotype and considerate phenotype propagation of vigorous seedlings is the full realization of