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Region 2 Amendment No. 2409.26-96-11
Effective July 5, 1996
POSTING NOTICE: Amendments are numbered consecutively by Handbook
number and calendar year. Post by document name. Remove entire document and
replace with this amendment. Retain this transmittal as the first page of this
document. The last amendment to this Handbook was Amendment 2409.26g-96-10
to 2409.26g,40, Contents.
Document Name
Superseded New
(Number of Pages)
40 - This is a technical amendment to reformat chapter text.
Regional Forester
R2 AMENDMENT 2409.26g-96-11
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R2 AMENDMENT 2409.26g-96-11
41 - SPECIES PRIORITIES. Current species priorities in the Region 2 tree
improvement program in descending order of priority are:
1. Ponderosa pine
2. Engelmann spruce
3. Lodgepole pine
4. Douglas-fir
These priorities are based on projected planting needs, potential genetic
improvement, and costs involved in anticipated tree improvement activities
designed to meet the needs.
On an individual Forest, species priorities for tree improvement may be different
from the Region priorities. Consequently, each Forest will develop their own
species priorities depending upon the Forest's specific species and needs for
improved species needs.
42 - PROGRAM INTENSITY LEVELS. There are five tree improvement program
intensity levels specified in the Forest Service Manual (FSM 2475.3) which are
ranked according to increasing complexity based upon input and potential genetic
gain that can be attained. These levels include: 1) seed collection zones, 2) seed
collection stands, 3) seed production area, 4) seed orchards, and 5) selective
Level 1 - Seed Collection Zones. All states in Region 2 have been zoned for tree and
shrub seed collection (Cunningham 1975, Seed Collection Zone Maps, R2-2470-15a,
b, and c). These zones were developed by first subdividing each state into regions
based on major land resource areas developed by the Soil Conservation Service
(Austin 1972) utilizing soil, climate, and land use data. The major land resource
areas were subdivided into seed collection zones by superimposing climatic data,
including mean January temperature and normal annual precipitation (U.S. Dept.
of Commerce 1968), on the major land resource use areas. Seed zone boundaries
were adjusted in some instances to conform to recognizable local land features such
as lakes, river, and highways. Development of these seed collection zones was a
cooperative effort involving Timber Management, State and Private Forestry, and
Research and State agencies. Seed collection zone boundaries will be evaluated and
adjusted, if necessary , when research and evaluation plantation data becomes
A long-term seed record system has been developed to ensure maintenance of
identity of seed and seedlings from time of collection through processing, storage,
nursery production and distribution to final use in reforestation and tree
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improvement projects. This seed record system, including codes to be used, is
described in the Region 2 Seed Handbook, FSH 2409.26f.
Tree Seed is collected on National Forest in Region 2 from single designated seed
zones. Identity of the seed is carefully maintained by specimen, seed collection
zone, elevation, seed source, Forest, District and year of collection. When seed is
collected, an Origin Verification Record (R3-2400-27) is completed for seed seedlot.
Instructions for completion of this record are included in the Region 2 Seed
All Forests in Region 2 will have, as a minimum, a level 1 tree improvement
Shrub Seed - Little is known about genetic variation and improvement methods and
techniques for shrub species that may be utilized in Region 2. consequently, until
more specific information is available, shrub seed should be collected and utilized
within local seed collection zones.
Seed Handbook - The Region 2 Seed Handbook (FSH 2409.26f) provides guidelines
and information on objectives, responsibilities, needs, seed source, and identity
control, cone collection and handling, and seed handling.
Level 2 - Seed Collection Stands. Seed collection stands are groups of individual
trees or stands within seed collection zones that exhibit above average performance
and are managed for seed production. They should be located on sites and at
elevations representative of future planting areas. Seed collection stands should be
designated for repeated seed collection, marked, and reserved from timber harvest.
Generally, very little cultural work is done in seed collection stands. However, some
thinning may be done to increase crown exposure to increase cone production.
Because no roguing is done to remove inferior phenotypes, little or no genetic gain is
achieved by using seed collection stands. The main advantage of using these stands
is that seed is collected from known stands that exhibit above average growth and
To attain some gain, undesirable phenotypes can be removed (rogued) from seed
collection stands. After roguing has been done, these stands will be considered as
seed production areas (SPA).
Guidelines for the selection and maintenance of seed collection stands are included
in Chapter 500. Forest silviculturists are responsible for certifying seed collection
stands for inclusion in the Forest and Regional seed program.
Level 3 - Seed Production Areas. Seed Production areas are usually established in
tested and proven natural stands. Undesirable individuals are removed and the
best individuals treated to promote early and abundant seed production. These
stands are usually protected against serious damaging pests.
As selection and testing programs are implemented in the Region, seed from
individuals in seed production areas will be tested to determine those areas that
should be retained for future seed production.
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Promising families produced from individuals selected in seed production areas will
be retained and included in the National Forest tree improvement programs.
Forest personnel, in consultation with the Regional Geneticist, are responsible for
location, establishment, and maintenance of seed production areas.
Forests in Region 2 having identified and continuing annual planting programs
consisting of a minimum of 100 acres/yr. per species should be involved in a level 3
tree improvement program.
Level 4 - Seed Orchards. Seed orchards are plantations of clones (a clone is a group
of genetically identical individuals produced asexually by grafting or rooting of
cuttings from a single individual) and/or seedlings from selected trees managed for
early and abundant seed production.
Four National Forests in Region 2 will have seedling or clonal seed orchards
established by the year 2000 for Engelmann spruce (Rio Grande NF), lodgepole pine
(Routt NF) and ponderosa pine (Black Hills NF and San Juan NF). On the Rio
Grande NF, Routt NF, and Black Hills NF, seedling seed orchards will be
established by converting currently existing progeny tests by thinning and roguing
of the test plantings based on performance evaluations made on the plantings.
To provide improved ponderosa pine seed for use on the San Juan NF, clonal and/or
seedling seed orchards will be established as part of an interregional (Regions 2,3,
and 4) program that will be developed for the genetic improvement of ponderosa
pine in the Southwest.
Information obtained from progeny tests, research studies, and environmental
variables (climate, soils, vegetation) will be used to determine the boundaries of
breeding zones: geographic areas based on anticipated adaptability of an imposed
population of trees. A breeding zone may include one or more individual seed zones.
Breeding zone information is basic information that is utilized in the design and
establishment of seed orchards or conversion of progeny tests to seed orchards.
More specific information related to seed orchards for Region 2 is included in
Chapter 800, Seed Orchards.
Level 5 - Selective Breeding. Selective breeding, which involves production of seed
of known parentage to provide improved materials for advanced-generation seed
orchards, will become a part of the Region's tree improvement program following
establishment of first generation orchards and evaluation of individuals in these
Because greatest overall gain will be achieved on the most productive sites, seed
orchards will be established only for those areas with sufficient acreage of highly
productive Forest land to economically justify their establishment and
management. Planting stock produced from seed orchard seed will be used only on
the most productive sites (productivity 50 plus).
All of these levels and how they would fit together in the Region 2 tree improvement
program are diagrammed in Figure 1.
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43 - FOREST TREE IMPROVEMENT PLANS. Each Forest having a level 2 or
higher level tree improvement program must develop a Tree Improvement Plan to
qualify for expenditure of tree improvement funds. Forest Tree Improvement Plans
will be based on the general direction provided in this handbook. Each Tree
Improvement Plan should include: 1) a summary of needs, 2) a plan of action, and
3) a schedule of activities, target date and estimated costs. A list of individuals
responsible for target accomplishments should also be included in the plan. Annual
requests for the improvement funding will be based on the schedule of activities and
cost estimates included in the plan. Requests for tree improvement funding should
be included in the Forest program budget process.
44 - COOPERATION. In order to maximize the benefits of tree improvement,
Region 2 tree improvement activities will be coordinated with other Regional,
Research, Federal agencies, State and University tree improvement programs.
45 - RESPONSIBILITIES. Regional Geneticist - General guidance and technical
assistance for implementation of the Region 2 tree improvement will be provided by
the Regional Geneticist. The Regional Geneticist will be responsible for
coordinating the Region 2 tree improvement program with tree improvement
programs in other Regions, Federal agencies, State and private organizations
within the Region.
The Regional Geneticist will be responsible for maintenance of long-term record
keeping systems to ensure identity of all Forest reproduction material from the time
of collection through processing, storage, nursery production and distribution to
final use in reforestation programs (FSM 2475.03).
Forest Supervisors - Forest Supervisors will implement the Regional Tree
Improvement Program and assist in development of individual Forest tree
improvement plans by designating an individual responsible for planning and
coordinating tree improvement activities on the Forests; and by cooperating with
adjacent Forests and other Federal and State agencies and private individuals and
organizations in cooperative tree improvement projects.
District Rangers - District Rangers are responsible for maintaining a seed inventory
by species and seed/breeding zone in accordance with the planned reforestation
program within the specific zone, frequency of seed crops, and storage life of seed
(FSM 2474.03).
Forest Service Nursery Managers:
1. Store genetically improved seed.
2. Produce seedling and clonal stock for progeny testing, seed orchards, and
breeding material.
3. Produce genetically improved planting stock for the National Forests.
4. Produce genetically improved planting stock for other Federal and State
agencies and private individuals and organizations under cooperative agreements.
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5. Carry out assigned administrative studies in tree improvement.