Application of micropropagation to forestry. Thorpe, T., A., Harry, I., S., & Kumar, P., P. Application of micropropagation to forestry, pages 311-336. Springer Netherlands, 5, 1991.
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The forests account for 29–34% of the land area on earth (FAO, 1963). Of this area approximately 60% are gymnosperms or softwoods; some 38% are angiosperms or hardwoods, with the remaining being made up of mixed forests. While most of the harvested material is used industrially, a significant portion of the hardwoods is utilized for fuel on a worldwide basis. It is generally accepted that the forests are being harvested at a faster rate than they are being regenerated, either naturally or artificially, hence, a shortage of wood and wood products has been forecasted for the end of this century (Keays, 1974). In addition, the rapid and disastrous effects of diseases, pests, and fires may jeopardize the very existence of certain tree species. Thus, there is an urgent need for larger numbers of improved, fast-growing trees (Thorpe & Biondi, 1984). At present, the tree improvement programs underway and the clonal propagation methods available offer only limited possibilities of achieving this goal.

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