The NSW Government has established the world’s largest pot-based breeding garden and advanced clonal propagation facility at the Grafton Forest Technology Centre, Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said today.

“The Iemma Government has spent $1 million on this arboretum and clonal propagation centre, which will provide jobs and major benefits to the environment,” Mr Macdonald said.

“It will enable Forests NSW to produce seeds and rooted cuttings for sale nationally and internationally, using the latest technology in greenhouse design.

“The centre will play a major role in a State-funded project to adapt trees to help reduce carbon emissions in our atmosphere.

“This involves finding trees that are capable of better carbon sequestration, at the same time as adapting trees to Australia’s dry climate.

“A key component of the research is developing commercially viable material for sites that would have traditionally been considered marginal, due to climatic restraints, such as poor soil quality, low rainfall or frost.

“We have a comprehensive suite of trials to develop seeds and seedlings for mine site rehabilitation and commercial plantations.

“The centre, established in 2005, is also involved in ongoing work with local industry partners in the sawmilling area to help in the transition from native forest regrowth to plantation wood.

“This has seen exhaustive trials of the milling qualities of eucalyptus species of various ages, in collaboration with Southern Cross University.

“The Grafton Forest Technology Centre is home to a growing area of model tree plantations.”

Forests NSW already has clients across the globe for its eucalyptus products, particularly seeds, including Asia, North America, South America, Europe and South Africa.

“We have also forged strong ties with Vietnam and China and are organising to host a number of international students at this centre from these countries,” Mr Macdonald said.

“A team from the Tree Improvement Group has just spent two weeks examining projects under way in China for the Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) investigating methods of improving the economics of short rotation eucalypt plantations for high value end use in Australia and China.”