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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

An Overview of the Practices and Management Methods for Enhancing Seed Production in Conifer Plantations for Commercial Use

Li, Yan; Li, Xiang; Zhao, Ming-Hui; Pang, Zhong-Yi; Wei, Jia-Tong; Tigabu, Mulualem; Chiang, Vincent L.; Sederoff, Heike; Sederoff, Ronald; Zhao, Xi-Yang;


Flowering, the beginning of the reproductive growth, is a significant stage in the growth and development of plants. Conifers are economically and ecologically important, characterized by straight trunks and a good wood quality and, thus, conifer plantations are widely distributed around the world. In addition, conifer species have a good tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress, and a stronger survival ability. Seeds of some conifer species, such as Pinus koraiensis, are rich in vitamins, amino acids, mineral elements and other nutrients, which are used for food and medicine. Although conifers are the largest (giant sequoia) and oldest living plants (bristlecone pine), their growth cycle is relatively long, and the seed yield is unstable. In the present work, we reviewed selected literature and provide a comprehensive overview on the most influential factors and on the methods and techniques that can be adopted in order to improve flowering and seed production in conifers species. The review revealed that flowering and seed yields in conifers are affected by a variety of factors, such as pollen, temperature, light, water availability, nutrients, etc., and a number of management techniques, including topping off, pruning, fertilization, hormone treatment, supplementary pollination, etc. has been developed for improving cone yields. Furthermore, several flowering-related genes (FT, Flowering locus T and MADS-box, MCMI, AGAMOUS, DEFICIENCES and SRF) that play a crucial role in flowering in coniferous trees were identified. The results of this study can be useful for forest managers and for enhancing seed yields in conifer plantations for commercial use.


conifers; flowering; seed production; pollination; phytohormones; tree management; nutrient fertilization

Published in


2021, volume: 7, number: 8, article number: 252
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Li, Yan
Northeast Forestry University - China
Li, Xiang
Northeast Forestry University - China
Zhao, Ming-Hui
Northeast Forestry University - China
Pang, Zhong-Yi
State-Owned Xinmin Machinery Forest Farm
Wei, Jia-Tong
Northeast Forestry University - China
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Chiang, Vincent L.
University of North Carolina
Chiang, Vincent L.
Northeast Forestry University - China
Sederoff, Heike
University of North Carolina
Sederoff, Ronald
North Carolina State University (NC State)
Zhao, Xi-Yang
Northeast Forestry University - China

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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