Thirty families of Eucalyptus globulus L., established in a first-generation open-pollinated progeny test, were evaluated for the production of heartwood. Five trees of each family were harvested at 9 years of age, total tree height was measured and a cross-sectional disc was removed at 25 % stem height to estimate the amount of heartwood. The heartwood proportion of the stemwood cross-sectional area averaged 41 % with significant between-family variation (P = 0.016) ranging from 27 to 53 %. There were also important within-family differences with coefficients of variation of the mean between 4 and 48 %. Moderate heritability values were obtained for heartwood diameter and proportion (h (2) = 0.31 and 0.23, respectively) but low estimates were found for sapwood width (h (2) = 0.17). Strong positive genetic and phenotypic correlations of heartwood diameter were found with stem DBH and with heartwood proportion. Both correlation estimates indicated that larger trees tended to have more heartwood. The results indicate that there is an opportunity to reduce heartwood content in E. globulus through selection and breeding.
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