Phenomics Enabled Biology
Heidi Dungey, PhD
Science Leader, Forest Genetics
Disclosure: Disclosure information not submitted.
Precision Forestry and Forest Phenotyping are recently emerging disciplines. The concepts are not new, but advances in genomics have increased demand for accurate high throughput phenotyping, advances in remote sensing and data science have increased the potential to meet that demand, and phenotyping forest trees poses distinct challenges. This communication has two principle aims: to report on the recent launch of an international Forest Phenotyping Working Group (FPWG); and to highlight our recent forest phenotyping research results.
The FPWG was formed at the invitation of the International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN) and was recently launched in a satellite meeting at the 6th International Plant Phenotyping Symposium held in October 2019, Nanjing China. The satellite meeting provided an overview of the concepts and aims of Forest Phenotyping, presented leading research results from New Zealand and Canada, and was well attended by the international audience at the IPPS2019 conference. We will present highlights from the meeting, including key content from presentations and recent developments from the FPWG.
A six-year research programme “Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future” was recently completed in New Zealand. This aimed to shift forest management towards “precision forestry”. This research has resulted in the development of remote sensing and phenotyping platforms. We will report on key results from the two complementary approaches taken to phenotyping using LiDAR: area-based methods, applied over a whole forest estate of thousands of hectares; and tree-based methods, applied to research trials and single forest stands up to tens of hectares. Results from estate-level analysis using machine–learning has helped to identify the key drivers of forest productivity. At the individual tree-level, crown and stem morphological metrics were successfully extracted and applied in research trials and forest stands. Combined with DNA-based parentage analysis, these techniques provide powerful tools for the precision management of planted forests.