The Forest Improvement Team make a fundamental contribution to our vision of using smart processes to produce premium product by working on the science of growing the best high quality trees and introducing innovative new silvicultural practices, technology and leading genetics into our forestry business.
Ernslaw One is active within the Forest Growers Research programme, working with Crown Research Institutes, Universities and other industry research providers at the forefront of leading forest science to deliver innovation that improves what we do. The Forest Improvement team provides a conduit for implementation of new research and technical expertise to our teams growing our forests and managing the estate for maximum value.
Ernslaw One grows trees with a vision of tomorrow's forests foremost in our minds. We are actively involved in a broad range of forest, forest products and ecological research as members of Forest Growers Research. We actively contribute to the governance of Forest Growers Research programmes staying close to Scion Research and other research providers to ensure that we are aware of the latest knowledge and that future research remains strongly connected to forestry. As members of the Radiata Pine Breeding Company we deploy the latest available genetic material from control pollinated crosses between elite parent trees to ensure that our forests remain resilient to future change, growing better and better every year.
After undergoing a large development of Douglas-fir in the lower South Island in the late 90s sourcing seed from the USA became unreliable and the seed was sub optimum. The idea was born to develop our own orchard that would guarantee the supply of good quality seed and allow us to improve our genetics through a natural breeding programme.
The land for the orchard was purchased in 1997. Originally an apple orchard, the site was ideal with its natural cold air drainage, irrigation infrastructure and good quality soil.
A selection of 30 clones with good wood properties, tree form and growth were selected from our forest and grafted into the orchard in 2001. Once these trees reached maturity a breeding programme to improve the genetics began in 2009.
The total area of 14.7ha consists of five different families of grafted Douglas-fir as well as seed processing facilities. Seed is used for our own replanting and sold to other forestry nurseries. In more recent years our seed extraction has been extended to include Pinus radiata and Redwood seed.