Breeding behaviour of three sandalwood species (Santalum album, S. austrocaledonicum and S. lanceolatum)

Page, Tony, Tate, Hanington, and Bled, Clement (2012) Breeding behaviour of three sandalwood species (Santalum album, S. austrocaledonicum and S. lanceolatum). In: Sandalwood Resource Development, Research and Trade in the Pacific and Asian Region: proceedings of the regional workshop. 6.3. pp. 102-108. From: Regional Workshop on Sandalwood Development, Research and Trade in the Pacific and Asian Region, 22-25 November 2010, Port Vila (Shefa), Vanuatu.

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Abstract

This study demonstrates that no reproductive barriers exist between three tropical sandalwood species (Santalum album, S. austrocaledonicum and S. lanceolatum) suggesting they have low genetic divergence between them. The high level of cross-compatibility between these three species increases the germplasm available for breeding programmes to develop cultivars suitable for commercial production. Each species could potentially contribute characters to a breeding programme, with the superior oil qualities of S. album, the early heartwood formation in S. austrocaledonicum and the straight form and fire tolerance of S. lanceolatum.

The production of hybrids between these species under natural conditions has conservation implications. Recent introductions of S. album in the southern part of Cape York means they can now hybridise with natural populations of S. lanceolatum. In Queensland it is unclear whether such hybrid progeny would have an advantage in these quite arid environments to persist beyond 1 or 2 generations. The planted resource of S. album occurs as one planting on a single property, in which monitoring of the surrounding areas could easily detect any issues with uncontrolled introgression between S. album and natural populations of S. lanceolatum.

In Vanuatu where S. album has also been recently introduced, spontaneous hybridisation between it and S. austrocaledonicum is also likely. In contrast with Queensland, there is little control over planting of S. album and many plantations have been established over Efate and are continuing in other islands. It is likely that hybrids between S. album and S. austrocaledonicum in Vanuatu are going to be competitive with pure forms of Vanuatu sandalwood, as has been demonstrated in Fiji hybrids between S. album and S. yasi. While it is recognised that S. album generally produces heartwood oil of superior quality in the marketplace, the source and therefore the quality of the Vanuatu S. album introductions is unclear. The introduction of S. album also represents a concern for the future identity of Vanuatu Sandalwood, which currently occupies an international market niche. It is looking increasingly likely that New Caledonia will emerge as a refuge for pure forms of S. austrocaledonicum.

Item ID: 23333
Item Type: Conference Item (Non-Refereed Research Paper)
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Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2013 22:51
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0705 Forestry Sciences > 070507 Tree Improvement (Selection and Breeding) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8201 Forestry > 820199 Forestry not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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