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DATA & ANALYSIS
  • TREE IMPROVEMENT: WESTERN GULF FOREST TREE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

    The Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Program, established in 1969, formalized the collaborative tree improvement efforts led by Texas A&M Forest Service. This cooperative model allows for members within a local region to share workloads, thus speeding up the improvement process, as well as access to the same improved genetics. The program is sponsored by and coordinated through TFS.


    Early program emphasis was on establishing the breeding populations of loblolly and slash pines with membership expanded to include forest industries and state organizations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi. Members of the pine cooperative with an interest in bottomland hardwoods joined efforts with TFS to expand the genetic base for several species and preserve selected genetic material for future use. The cooperative is preserving and improving populations of four southern pine species and several hardwood species. 

     

     

    Accomplishments

    • The second round of improvement in loblolly pine is nearly complete.

    • Between 0.5 and 1.0 % gain in volume are identified annually in the program. 

    • Members maintain nearly 1,600 acres of improved seed orchards.

    • Seedling production averaged nearly 271MM from 2010 through 2012, with 188MM made available to external customers. 

    • Region-wide seedling growth improvement averages 30 percent compared to unimproved sources.

    • Program impacts to forest landowners include
      • Site productivity on a good site increased from 5.75 to 7.50 tons per acre per year. 
      • Present value based on discounted cash flow from marginal increases in the growth of lumber and wood products between $5 and $10 per planted acre. 
      • Annual increase in marginal stumpage value: $2.5 to $5.0 million. 
      • Current marginal present value of $75 to $150 million added to the regional wood supply resource annually.



    WGFTIP Members

    Full members of the WGFTIP pine improvement program (with regions of operation in parentheses)

    ArborGen (TX)
    Arkansas Forestry Commission (AR)
    Campbell Global, LLC (TX)
    Deltic Timber Corporation (AR)
    Hancock Forest Management, Inc. (TX)
    International Forest Company (LA)
    Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LA)
    Oklahoma Forestry Services (OK)
    Plum Creek Timber Company (AR, MS)
    Rayonier Forest Resources (TX)
    Texas A&M Forest Service (TX)
    Weyerhaeuser Company (LA, MS)


    Contributing members of the WGFTIP pine improvement program 

    Molpus Timberland Management, LLC (AR)
    RoyOMartin (LA)


    Full members of the WGFTIP hardwood improvement program 

    Arkansas Forestry Commission
    Campbell Global, LLC
    Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
    Louisiana Forest Seed Company, Inc
    Texas A&M Forest Service



    Members of the WGFTIP

     

     


     + Membership Levels

    The WGFTIP currently recognizes four membership categories.
    I.FULL: An organization may qualify for full membership in the cooperative either as a traditional member or under conditions recommended by the WGFTIP Director and approved by the Executive Committee within the following guidelines.

    Qualifications for traditional Full Membership:

    1. Manage seed orchards.
    2. Maintain a contribution to the base breeding population by selecting, preserving, breeding and progeny testing a number of selections agreed upon with the WGFTIP Director and as governed by policy adopted by the Executive Committee.
    3. Meet other requirements as set forth in policy adopted by the Executive Committee and expected of all other traditional members.


    Qualification for non-traditional Full Membership:

    1. Must NOT own or operate seed orchards, except for breeding.
    2. Support the base breeding population by supplying the number of forward selections negotiated with the WGFTIP Director, a number to be not less than that required of traditional members.
    3. Meet other requirements as specified by the WGFTIP Director and approved by the Executive Committee.


    Services to be provided to Full Members will include but not be limited to:
      

    • Coordination of regional tree improvement programs by providing services to include, but not limited to:
      • Breeding and progeny testing program quality control.
      • Data analysis and summarization.
      • Field test design and layouts. 
      • Facilitation of plant material and information exchange.
      • Coordination of regional progeny tests from sowing to establishment.
      •  Off-site records repository.

     

    •  Employee development and program supervision:
      • Employee technical training sessions. 
      • On-site benchmarking reviews of program implementation. This includes a Formal Review as approved by the Executive Committee in 1977. 

      

    •  Operational seed production programs:
      • Recommend orchard replacement schedule, design and clonal composition utilizing the best genetic material available from the region.
      • Provide quality assurance programs for seed production (SOSET).
      • Provide annual orchard nutrition management recommendations based on soil and/or foliage nutrient sampling.

     

    • Access to plant material and performance data as specified by standards adopted by the Executive Committee.

     

    II.CONTRIBUTING: This membership category was approved by the WGFTIP Executive Committee in 2008. An organization may qualify for contributing membership in the cooperative under conditions recommended by the WGFTIP Director and approved by the Executive Committee within the following guidelines.



    Qualification for Contributing Membership:

    1. Must manage forestland in the western Gulf region, OR
    2. Operate a forest nursery selling seedlings derived from the WGFTIP breeding population.
    3. Must have an interest in the development and promotion of improved strains of forest trees.
    4. Must NOT be a primary producer of genetically improved seed derived from the WGFTIP population.

     

    Rights and Benefits of a Contributing Member:

    1. Attendance in all meetings. Participation in all policy debates as a non-voting member of the Executive Committee.
    2. Access to full data summaries for all WGFTIP families including breeding values and recommended deployment zones. The Contributing Member is licensing the use of the data for one calendar year from the time of data distribution and must agree to destroy all copies at the end of this period. Use of the data will be subject to the same standards and restrictions that apply to Full Members. Annual updates will be available upon renewal of membership. 
    3. Participation in WGFTIP research projects that are supplementary to the breeding program. 
    4. Access to all WGFTIP publications. 
    5. Access to data and germplasm under the same conditions as outlined for non-members in the Standards for Data Exchange and the Standards Governing the Exchange of Plant Material among Members, with the exception of the conditions granted in Item 2. 
    6. Contributing members, at their request, will be supplied with an annual letter from the Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Cooperative stating that their fees support research in forest productivity pursuant to SFI standard 4.1.1.1.2.
    7. A Contributing Membership may be converted to a Full Membership with breeding and progeny testing responsibilities. A Contributing Member wishing to make this conversion will not be assessed an Entrance Fee.


    Contributing Members will not be expected to supply any in-kind support for the program although they may choose to do so. The WGFTIP reserves the right to adjust the fee schedule or to discontinue the membership category upon a vote of the Executive Committee with all changes to be effective at the next scheduled renewal.


    III.SUSTAINING: This membership category was approved by the WGFTIP Executive Committee in 2008. An organization may qualify for sustaining membership in the cooperative under conditions recommended by the WGFTIP Director and approved by the Executive Committee within the following guidelines.


    Qualification for Sustaining Membership:
    1. Must NOT be a primary producer of genetically improved seed, seedlings or other regeneration material derived from the WGFTIP population.
    2. Must have a vested interest in enhanced forest productivity. 

     

    Rights and Benefits of a Sustaining Member:
    1. Attendance in all meetings. Participation in all policy debates as a non-voting member of the Executive Committee.
    2. Participate in WGFTIP research projects that are supplementary to the breeding program. 
    3. Access to all WGFTIP publications. 
    4. Access to data and germplasm under the same conditions as outlined for non-members in the Standards for Data Exchange and the Standards Governing the Exchange of Plant Material among Members. 
    5. Sustaining members, at their request, will be supplied with an annual letter from the Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Cooperative stating that their fees support research in forest productivity pursuant to SFI standard 4.1.1.1.2.
    6. After five years, a Sustaining Membership may be converted to a Full Membership with breeding and progeny testing responsibilities. In addition to payment of annual dues, members wishing to make this conversion will be assessed an Entrance Fee of 2.5 times current annual dues.

    Sustaining Members will not be expected to supply any in-kind support for the program although they may choose to do so. 

     

    IV.ASSOCIATE: The Associate Membership category is intended for vendors, contractors and other organizations or individuals that work with our Full Members in support of their programs and have no interest in data, breeding material or research results.


    Qualifications for Associate Membership
    1. Must not have a pine seed orchard, except for breeding
    2. Desires to promote tree improvement.
    3. Is willing to pay membership fee.

    Services to be provided Associate Members:


    No personal services are to be provided Associate Members. 
     

    Associate Members shall receive
    1. Access to research information from the Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Program. 
    2. Access to Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Program Executive meeting as non-voting members with no input to policy debate.
    3. Invitation to the Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Program Contact Representatives’ meetings, short courses or other technical meetings. 

     

     

     

     + Membership Fees

    Membership fees are approved annually by the Executive Committee and are structured based on membership level.



    Full: Full members pay base dues as set by the Executive Committee. These dues cover activities for a single breeding zone. Member with acquired programs in other zones will pay an additional Working Unit fee set at ¾ of the base dues. This fee structure was adopted by the Executive committee in 1980. New members will also be charged an entrance fee set at five times the base dues of the year in which application for membership is made. 

     

    Contributing: A Contributing Member will be assessed an annual fee based on the number of acres regenerated in the previous calendar year with seedlings that originated from the WGFTIP breeding program or seedlings and seed sold to non-members that originated from the WGFTIP breeding program. Dues will be $2.50 per acre regenerated, $5.00 per thousand seedlings sold, and $10.00 per pound of seed sold with a minimum fee equivalent to the dues for one Working Unit. The Entrance Fee expected for Full Membership is waived.



    Sustaining: A Sustaining Member will be assessed an annual fee equal to dues for a Working Unit. The Entrance Fee is waived.


    Associate:
    A nominal annual fee of not less than $500 and not more than $3000, as approved by the Executive Committee.

     

     + WGFTIP Staff


    WGFTIP Director Tom ByramDirector/Principal Geneticist: Dr. Tom Byram has served as WGFTIP Director since 2001, succeeding mentor and long-time program director Dr. Bill Lowe upon his retirement. Tom received his BS in Biology from Hendrix University and his MS in Forestry and PhD in Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences from Texas A&M University. He began his career with the WFGTIP in 1976 as a graduate student working on the inheritance of form and growth in natural populations of loblolly pine. Tom has a strong background in both quantitative forest genetics and molecular genetics of forest trees 


    WGFTIP Assistant Geneticist Fred RaleyAssistant Geneticist: Dr. Fred Raley has been on the cooperative staff since 2001 after working for ten years as a tree improvement forester and seed orchard manager with Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation in Florida and Alabama. Fred received a BS in Forestry from Louisiana Tech University, an MS in Forestry from Oklahoma State University and PhD in Forestry from Texas A&M University. Fred’s responsibilities include data quality control and analysis, seed orchard management, progeny test coordination and facilitation of scion exchange.


    WGFTIP Office Associate Penny SowellOffice Associate: Ms. Penny Sowell has served in this capacity since 2001, after many years in office management with AMS Corporation. She serves as communication liaison between members and staff and handles all payroll, purchasing and account payable activities.  

     + Contact

    The Western Gulf Forest Tree Improvement Program
    Forest Science Laboratory
    Building 1042, Agronomy Road
    2585 TAMU
    College Station, TX 77843-2585


    Phone: 979-845- 2523
    Fax: 979-845-3272

     

     + Publications

    The WGFTIP publishes an annual report highlighting breeding, progeny testing, orchard establishment and production activities as well as any pertinent forestry research conducted at Texas A&M University or by the USDA Forest Service. Electronic copies of these reports have been available since 1998 and can be accessed below.

     

    2009 Annual Report (PDF, 1.08 MB)

    2006 Annual Report (PDF, 1.15 MB)

    2005 Annual Report (PDF, 1.6 MB)

    2004 Annual Report (PDF, 3.22 MB)

    2003 Annual Report (PDF, 3.3 MB)

    2002 Annual Report (PDF, 1.19 MB)

    2001 Annual Report (PDF, 1.25 MB)

    2000 Annual Report (PDF, 1.1 MB)

    1999 Annual Report (PDF, 0.85 MB)

    1998 Annual Report (PDF, 1.4 MB)

     

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