Overview Objectives

This project builds on a substantial body of work in Vietnam in the breeding of acacia species and hybrids, which has enhanced the production of high-value germplasm required to meet the Government of Vietnam’s objectives for an expanded plantation estate for sawlog and fibre production. Vietnam now has an acacia plantation estate of over 400,000 ha, including over 150,000 ha of clonal Acacia mangium X A. auriculiformis (A. hybrid), whose large-scale operational use has been pioneered by Vietnamese scientists. This project comprises a key element in a suite of linked ACIAR projects designed to underpin the sustainability of, and add value to, Vietnam’s acacia and eucalypt plantation estates, and the processing industries based on them. The major objectives are: 1) to design and implement an enhanced clonal production and deployment strategy to deliver an ongoing stream of tested A. hybrid clones to tree farmers throughout Vietnam (the program will integrate appropriate breeding, seed production management, propagation and information management strategies); 2) to refine and demonstrate deployment strategies for sexually propagated A. mangium, to expand utilisation of seed from the elite selections planted in the Forest Science Institute of Vietnam orchards; 3) to continue development of new polyploid varieties with potential for improved wood properties and reproductive sterility. It is projected that the smallholder sector could contribute an additional $14 million per annum to the GDP within 7-10 years if new hybrid clones with higher wood basic density can be developed and deployed efficiently.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

The Project formally commenced on July 1st 2009. The work program is built on earlier collaborations between UTas, CSIRO and FSIV in both ACIAR and other projects, and good staff continuity has been maintained. This has made for a very smooth start-up, with work on all three Objectives at or ahead of plan.
The major Objective 1 is to assist in developing a new generation of Acacia hybrid clones for use by the Vietnamese forest industry. Country-wide trials of existing clones have been assessed and analysed for growth and wood properties and publication is in preparation. A large population of new A.mangium x auriculiformis seedlings has been selected from natural hybridisation in seed orchards. These have been planted on 3 sites and the best will progress to clonal evaluation at age 2.
Objective 2 aims to transfer technology developed in Indonesia to make better use of limited supplies of top quality seed of A.mangium through vegetative propagation of seedling plants (Clonal Family Forestry). The FSIV nursery manager has visited Indonesia and used the knowledge gained to design a system which is appropriate to the northern Vietnamese environment. Seedlings of superior orchard families have been planted in mother plant beds and cuttings production will start in June 2010, to commence the protocol evaluation phase of the project.
Objective 3 continues the program for developing and evaluating polyploid Acacia clones for their reproductive sterility and wood properties which was begun in a previous ACIAR Project FST2003/002. A 7-year-old hybridising orchard of diploid and tetraploid trees in southern Vietnam is being used for investigations of reproductive biology by graduate students associated with the project. Plans are now in place to evaluate pulp and paper making characteristics of the wood in Year 2. Progeny from tetraploid trees will be planted in June 2010 to advance the breeding process. A younger trial planted in north Queensland has now begun to flower and provides further opportunities for experimental production of polyploid seed. At UTas the first tetraploid lines have been produced from in vitro colchicine induction of cultures of commercial hybrid clones. These will be returned to Vietnam for trialling and further breeding.

The Project formally commenced on June 1st 2009 and we are therefore 2 years into the work program. The great majority of activities are substantially on plan and working relationships between all Project staff remain excellent. A number of articles in peer reviewed Journals are now published or being processed. Australian Project staff made 7 visits to Vietnam in the past year and there was 1 visit of a Vietnamese counterpart to Australia.

The major Objective 1 is to assist in developing a new generation of Acacia hybrid clones for use by the Vietnamese forest industry. An initial assessment of productivity of existing clones has been finalised and will be used as a basis for revised recommendations to growers. A new and larger population of hybrid clones will be selected from 5 seedling trials now in process of assessment. The best 200 of 2000 2-year- old candidate trees will be advanced to the clonal testing phase in 2011/12. There have been problems with identification of “hybrid” seedlings at an early age and the best way to raise candidates and clonal controls in block plantings, so work on practical protocols for future use will continue.

Objective 2 aims to transfer technology developed in Indonesia to make better use of limited supplies of top quality seed of A.mangium through vegetative propagation of seedling plants (Clonal Family Forestry). In the first season of experiments an average of 11 cuttings were produced from each seedling mother plant. This can be increased by making better use of the May-September growing season. In 2011/12 we will also determine whether it is more efficient to manage mother plants through the winter or replant afresh each year.

Objective 3 continues the program for developing and evaluating polyploid Acacia clones for their reproductive sterility and wood properties which was begun in a previous ACIAR Project FST2003/002. Wood from 8-year-old tetraploid and diploid clones has been sent to South Africa for evaluation of fibre and pulp properties. Solid wood properties of the same trees will be evaluated in Ha Noi. This information will have a strong bearing on our view of polyploid breeding as a methodology for achieving improved plantation value.
The search for triploids in open pollinated seed from the hybridising orchard continues. 758 seedlings have been screened by flow cytometry but so far we have found only 3 triploid individuals, confirming that there are strong reproductive barriers to inter-ploidy crossing. These plants have been cloned and successfully transferred to Vietnam for field planting. We have also overcome problems with international transfer of other Project germplasm and are about to plant a field trial of tetraploid and diploid lines of 3 operational hybrid clones in Vietnam.
Unfortunately Cyclone Yasi destroyed the only Australian planting of polyploid germplasm before we were able to complete planned studies of flowering biology or to transfer to Vietnam for breeding. A new set of tetraploid seedling lines has now been produced in Hobart and will be transferred to complete establishment of a substantial population for future breeding by FSIV.
Now that the technical program is well underway we have commenced discussion about technology transfer initiatives we will take in 2012, particularly in relation to Objective 2.

The Project formally commenced on June 1st 2009 and we are therefore three years into the five year program. The majority of activities are substantially on plan and, based on results to date, we have included some important new initiatives. Relationships between Project staff in both countries have developed into a true scientific collaboration and it is encouraging to note that the Research Centre for Forest Tree Improvement has now begun investing additional funds to support the work program. An increasing amount of Australian scientist time is being devoted to the preparation of articles for peer reviewed Journals with the aim of placing the significant science in the public domain during the term of the Project. Australian staff made 4 Project funded visits to Vietnam in the past year and a visit from a group of 6 Vietnamese counterparts was hosted in Hobart.

Objective 1 is to assist in developing a new generation of Acacia hybrid clones for use by the Vietnamese forest industry. An assessment of the productivity and wood density of existing clones at different locations in northern and southern Vietnam has been published. Four clones BV10, BV 32, BV 33 and BV75 were identified as superior for growth and wood density at all three trial sites. A new and larger population of hybrid clones is being selected from five trials of acacia hybrid seedlings. Four of the five trials were assessed during the last year and selections will be made from the final trial at Bau Bang in the south after assessment in July 2012. Over 90 of the best candidate selections have already been successfully cloned and ramets planted out in May 2012 in a field trial at Yen The in Bac Giang province, together with 48 hybrid clones selected by RCFTI from their A. mangium and A. auriculiformis seedling seed orchards, and 12 control treatments comprising seedlots and commercial hybrid clones. The balance of the select seedling population will be cloned in time for establishment of the final field trials by Dec 2012. Work on early identification of hybrid seedlings using a NIR hand-held dispersive instrument was conducted during the year with inconclusive results.

Objective 2 aims to adapt technology developed in Indonesia to make better use of limited supplies of top quality seed of A.mangium through vegetative propagation of the best seedlings (Clonal Family Forestry). We expect these cuttings to grow like seedlings but it is essential to confirm this, so plants have been raised for a field trial.
The economics of CFF are highly dependent on the number of cuttings produced from a mother plant through the annual cycle. The winters are cold at the nursery site at Ba Vi and we are still experimenting with management of mother plants through the winter vs. planting afresh each spring. A further season of experiments is required before we are in a position to consider extension to commercial nurseries.
Objective 3 continues the program for producing and evaluating the potential of polyploid Acacias. Wood from 8-year-old tetraploid and diploid A.mangium clones was pulped by the SAPPI laboratory in South Africa. The fibres of the tetraploid are longer and thicker than the diploid and the pulp resembles that from softwoods. An important study completed in Hobart has shown that the enhanced fibre traits are also expressed in the young progeny of the tetraploid lines. Implications for the pulp and paper industry are being explored and in 2013 we will conduct a review of commercialisation options in order to maximise benefits for Vietnamese growers. Since we have observed that the bark thickness is greater in tetraploids, we are also conducting a pilot study of phenolic extract content. If results are promising we will explore whether there is any interest from regional industry. Collaborators from SAPPI (South Africa). Kew Gardens (UK); Norske Skog (Tasmania) and U.Melbourne (Victoria) have provided gratis expert assistance with the wood and bark studies.
As reported in 2011 the Bau Bang 2X/4X hybridising orchard produced very few triploids. Controlled pollinations by John Allwright scholar NQ Chi also failed to produce any which germinated and produced normal plants. To date we have identified 4 viable triploid plants which have been cloned in Hobart and successfully transferred to Vietnam for field planting. It is possible that they will flower in time for preliminary assessment of reproductive sterility during the term of the project but we will not achieve the original aim of producing operational quality sterile triploids. Our short-medium term focus is therefore on commercial deployment of tetraploids.
The new approach of making 4X lines from tissue cultures of operational hybrid clones has proved successful and the first field trial was planted at Bau Bang in 2011. Since these are expected to show excellent rooting ability, once we have confirmation of the production potential it should be possible to move straight to operational deployment.
Over 50 new tetraploid A.mangium lines were produced in Hobart from Vietnamese orchard seedlots and successfully transferred for field establishment in Vietnam in 2012. This provides a sound base for future breeding by FSIV. As an additional contribution a set of A.crassicarpa tetraploids has been transferred to FSIV and we are in the process of producing a similar population of tetraploid A.auriculiformis from orchard seedlots for export to Vietnam in 2013. This material will provide an additional future option for producing new 4x hybrids directly by sexual means rather than use of colchicine on existing clones.
We are planning to present and review all the activities at a Wrap-Up Workshop in Vietnam in Semester 1 2014. Hopefully this will be in conjunction with the first meeting of a new IUFRO Working Party “Acacia Genetics and Silviculture”. The WP is a new initiative of the Project Leaders as a contribution to long term capacity building for researchers within the region and elsewhere and we appreciate ACIAR in-principle support. Planning for this meeting will be an increasingly important activity through 2013.

The Project formally commenced on June 1st 2009 and we are therefore four years into the five year program. The majority of activities are substantially on plan and, based on interim results, we have taken some important new initiatives. Relationships between Project staff in both countries have developed into a true scientific collaboration, further enhanced by the return to Hanoi of a successful JA Scholar, Dr QN Chi. The Institute of Forest Tree Improvement and Biotechnology (IFTIB) of the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences (VAFS) is investing additional funds to complement Project activities and the President of VAFS and Director of IFTIB have recently confirmed to ACIAR management that for 2014 onwards they wish to prioritise strategic support for advanced tree breeding techniques, which is the main thrust of the current project. Australian scientist time is increasingly devoted to the preparation of articles for peer reviewed Journals with the aim of placing the significant science in the public domain during the term of the Project. Australian staff made 4 Project-funded visits to Vietnam. There were two visits of Vietnamese counterparts to Australia with funding assistance from the Crawford Foundation and VAFS own resources. Respective aims were for training in molecular techniques and positioning for a new JA Scholarship, and for high level discussions about future options.
Objective 1 is to assist in developing a new generation of Acacia hybrid clones for use by the Vietnamese forest industry. About 450 new hybrid clones are established at field trials at four locations and initial assessment will be completed within the term of the project. This will identify promising clones which will be subject to more extensive testing by IFTIB.
Objective 2 aims to adapt technology developed in Indonesia to make better use of limited supplies of top quality seed of A.mangium through vegetative propagation of the best seedlings (Clonal Family Forestry). We expect these cuttings to grow like seedlings but this is being confirmed in a field trial planted in 2012.
The economics of CFF are highly dependent on the number of cuttings produced from a mother plant through the annual cycle. The winters are cold at the nursery site at Ba Vi in northern Vietnam and we have concluded that this is not a suitable location. Plans are in place for IFTIB to collaborate with a commercial nursery in Central Vietnam where the growing season is longer. Both A. mangium and A. crassicarpa will be evaluated. This initiative will continue beyond the term of the Project. This is a variation of the technology transfer plan defined in the Project document but it is our collective assessment that it is the most appropriate next step.
Objective 3 continues the program for producing and evaluating the potential of polyploid Acacias. Pulping trials of wood from Vietnamese trials conducted in South Africa have demonstrated that tetraploid clones have longer and thicker fibres than the diploids with pulp resembling that from softwoods. Results have been submitted for publication as background to our initiative to interest major pulp and paper companies in investing in continued R&D in Vietnam. A Commercialisation Options review is to be conducted in August 2013. New initiatives by Australian staff include examination of relative extractive yields from bark of polyploid and diploid clones and also of the relative water stress tolerances. Results will help guide future development of the breeding and exploitation program whether within or outside of new ACIAR projects. We continue to have limited success in producing viable triploid clones, however we have identified and propagated 11 naturally occurring triploid clones from populations of all three species under study (A.mangium, A.auriculiformis and A.crassicarpa), all of which will be in the field in Vietnam during the term of the project. The oldest of these should flower at the end of 2013, thus permitting us to complete proof of concept investigation of putative reproductive sterility.
Wider field testing of polyploid families and clones has progressed in Vietnam. A large plot trial established at Ba Vi in October 2012 will allow IFTIB to quantify the differences in growth rate. Indications are that the polyploids will grow somewhat more slowly but that merchantable volume may be higher because of the better tree form and possiblly increased wind firmness. Modelling of the financial impacts of these interacting factors for growers will be an important follow up activity and necessary prerequisite for release of the new polyploid varieties.
As noted in the Year 3 report we have made an additional contribution by preparing a set of A.crassicarpa tetraploids and transferring these to Vietnam. These will be planted in the field in mid 2013. A similar population of putative tetraploid A.auriculiformis is being screened in Hobart and will be propagated for export to Vietnam in August 2013. All this material will provide additional future options for IFTIB to produce new polyploid varieties, including new 4X hybrids directly by sexual means rather than use of colchicine on existing clones.
A major capacity building outcome of the Project is the strong involvement of IFTIB staff in the new International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) WP 2.08.07 “Genetics and Silviculture of Acacias”. The VAFS is hosting a major international conference “Acacia 2014: Sustaining the future of Acacia Plantation Forestry” in Hue Vietnam in March 2014. ACIAR has agreed to provide substantial financial support and both Australian and Vietnamese Project staff are heavily engaged in planning and organisation. The Conference will be a showcase for Project outcomes and hopefully provide a useful guide to outstanding research priorities which will assist ACIAR and regional authorities shape ongoing investment in support of their plantation forest industries.

The Project has run its formal term with substantial completion against targets. ACIAR has agreed to a no-cost extension so the partners will continue work for an additional year. This will permit further progress on the clonal development and polyploid breeding programs in Vietnam and also completion of publications. During the past year Project staff played a central role in organising a successful international Conference “Acacia 2014 - Sustaining the Future of Acacia Plantation Forestry” at Hue, Vietnam. The program reviewed current status and scientific challenges to the continued sustainable development of acacia plantations; enhanced regional networking among acacia researchers, managers and policy setters; and was a showcase for key outcomes of FST2008/007.
The Project work program was organised around three major objectives:
Objective 1 to assist in developing a new generation of Acacia hybrid clones for use by the Vietnamese forest industry. Almost 500 new hybrid clones were established at field trials at four locations and two year growth has been assessed as a basis for deciding on a sub-set to take forward to the next stage of evaluation by IFTIB. To position for ongoing improvement a new hybridising orchard has been planted with a mix of highly selected clones of A.mangium and A.auriculiformis
Objective 2 aimed to adapt technology developed in Indonesia to make better use of limited supplies of top quality seed of A.mangium through vegetative propagation of the best seedlings (Clonal Family Forestry or CFF). A field trial has confirmed that early growth and form of such propagules is no different to seedlings. However the economics of CFF are highly dependent on the number of cuttings produced from a mother plant through the annual cycle and unfortunately the growing season at the nursery site in northern Vietnam did not meet productivity targets. IFTIB has now transferred their support to a commercial nursery in Central Vietnam where the growing season is longer. Both A.mangium and A.crassicarpa will be evaluated beyond the term of the Project and, no doubt, if successful then other nursery managers will follow suit.
Objective 3 continues the program for producing and evaluating the potential of polyploid Acacias both for production and as a means of minimising risk of weediness. We have clearly demonstrated improvement in wood properties in tetraploid trees, but the growth rate is slower so any recommendation to plant must be based on a price premium for the wood and/or a demonstration that form differences increase merchantable volume/ wind firmness/disease tolerance. Field trials on a wider range of sites to be planted in 2014 will compare diploid, triploid and tetraploid varieties and allow IFTIB to quantify such effects within 5 years. Dr Chi of IFTIB has made an important breakthrough in successful tissue culture of triploid seeds produced by controlled pollination. This should greatly enhance production of triploids for field evaluation. The first triploids flowered in late 2013 and indications are that pollen is sterile and no seed is set after open pollination. More complete studies will be undertaken during the extension year and we expect to reach a conclusion about the sterility breeding objective.
Tetraploid versions of a set of diploid commercial hybrid clones were produced and field trialled in Vietnam. Again the growth rate of the tetraploid is slower but the material will have value in future breeding. In some crop plants it has been noted that polyploids are more stress tolerant than diploids. Collaborators from CSIRO are currently comparing the physiological responses to water stress and IFTIB will have the opportunity to trial in high drought risk sites if results are positive.
We have helped position IFTIB for continued hybrid polyploid breeding by producing a set of new tetraploid A.auriculiformis. These have been exported to Vietnam and 45 successfully propagated for planting in 2014.

Project ID
FST/2008/007
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
University of Tasmania, Australia
Project Leader
Professor Rod Griffin
Email
griffinr@utas.edu.au
Phone
03 6239 1466
Fax
03 6239 1466
Collaborating Institutions
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia
Forest Science Institute of Vietnam, Vietnam
Project Budget
$1,187,344.00
Start Date
01/06/2009
Finish Date
31/05/2014
Extension Start Date
31/05/2014
Extension Finish Date
31/05/2015
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Mr Tony Bartlett