Forest reproductive material / Selection
Making sure of end uses
Before embarking on a programme involving tree regeneration, it is important to know what the trees will eventually be used for. There are many examples of tree planting programmes where the end use was undecided, unknown or inadequately planned for. The result has been that thousands of hectares of plantation were established which had little or no economic or environmental value. In some cases, where species were introduced, there have been substantial unforeseen costs, such as weediness, that have outweighed the benefits.
Therefore, you should make sure you are clear about the goods and services that will be provided by the trees and forests to be established. They will often be managed for multiple purposes. Products may be timber, pulpwood, fuelwood, construction poles or a range of non-timber forest products (non-wood products) (NTFPs (NWPs)). Examples are fodder, bark, fruits, oils, dyes, medicines, and spices. Sometimes, the reproductive material e.g.fruits and seeds, may be the end-product itself, for consumption as food - as is the case for many agricultural crops, of course. In addition, there will be services provided by the trees and forests, such as site amelioration, soil conservation, carbon sinkage, biodiversity conservation, that are either planned for or incidental.
Choice of species and type of reproductive material will vary according to the combinations of these benefits required. There are many sources of information on the potential and actual uses of species.