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Maritime pine

Maritime pine


The maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) is a conifer of high economic importance in Spain, particularly in Galicia, as well as in other countries such as France and Portugal, due to the quality of its wood and its resin. In Galicia, it is primarily used to produce pallets and fiber and particle boards, as well as a building material.

Distribución do piñeiro bravo en Europa (Programa Europeo de Recursos Genéticos Forestales)



Distribución do piñeiro bravo en España (Terceiro Inventario Forestal Nacional)




Is present in the western Mediterranean basin and in the Atlantic coast of France, Spain and Portugal, occupying a total of approximately 4.2 million hectares. The largest areas of this species are found in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. It is a species with great ecological diversity, adapting well to various types of climates and soils. It can be found from sea level (Mimizan, France) to more than 2000 meters high (Atlas, Morocco); from places with less than 350 mm of annual precipitation and more than 4 months of drought (Oria, Spain) to other areas with more than 1700 mm and no summer drought (Galicia, Spain); and both in acid soils (his favorite) as basic or even sandy. In the Atlantic, it has short shifts of 40 years, while the rest of the shift amounts to more than 100 years.

In Spain, it has a discontinuous distribution, finding very diverse populations probably due to this fragmentation and isolation of the masses to each other. Is mainly present in Galicia, where it is the conifer that occupies the largest surface, in the Castilian plateau, in the mountains of Soria-Burgos area, in the mountains of ‘Sierra de Cuenca’ and ‘Sierra de Segura-Alcaraz’, and at various small extension of the interior and the Spanish Mediterranean coast.


Orixe das proxenies galegas, hortos sementeiros, ensaios de proxenies e de proxenies x fertilización


Origin of Galician progenies, seedbed orchards, progenies trials and progenies x fertilization

In the 80s, we began a breeding program of the species in Galicia by selecting superior trees in local origin, Galicia-Coast. We decided to do this provenance selection on the basis of the results obtained from the provenance trial installed in the 50s by Fernando Molina; the trial showed that the local origin (‘As Neves’) was the one that had a better growth, shape and ramification. Between 1986 and 1988, 128 superior trees were selected for characters of forest interest such as growth, crust thickness, straightness of the shaft and ramification. A total of 116 of the 128 trees were cloned by grafting, settled with the material the first clonal seedbed orchard of the species in Galicia (H. S. Sergude, in Sergude -A Coruña-). This orchad was included in 2001 in the ‘Catálogo Nacional de Materiais de Base (CNMB)’ for obtaining forest reproductive material, within the category described. In 1998 was installed a new seedbed orchard in Monfero (A Coruña) with the same material and design of Sergude. This orchad has been included, like the previous one, as base material in the category of qualified in 2007 by the CNMB.

Alongside the installation of seedbed orchards, in 1991, we installed the first progeny trials in ‘Rois’ and ‘Brión’ (A Coruña) with 24 and 32 families, respectively. In 1995 we settled five more trials in the coastal area of Galicia with 78 to 111 families. In the year 2000, we settled three progeny trials, but this time in the interior of Galicia. In 2003 we settled three progeny trials and we apllied different doses of fertilization (progeny- fertilization trials). Finally, in 2005, we installed a total of seven trials distributed by both the coastal area as the interior. In these last ones, we planted the 116 families of the clones represented in the H.S. of Sergude.

The results of the measurements performed at 6 years on the trials installed in 1991, showed the superiority of the material of the program of improvement, compared to the commercial seed. Measurements of different plots allowed the estimation of genetic parameters for different characters of interest, such as growth, straightness, angle and thickness of branches, multiple plant shoots and length of internodes. The evaluation at 8 years of plots installed in 1995, allowed to select the best 79 superior trees. With this information, we established a seedbed orchard generation 1.5 in ‘Braxe’ (A Coruña) with grafted clones of 79 selected genotypes..

Most recent results have shown that the material of the galician program of improvement galician is suitable, not only for the coastal area of Galicia, but also for the inner zone. In addition, Galicia can be considered as a single area of improvement. For the inner zone of Galicia, there were also showed other suitable materials such as the breeding program ones of Western Australia, and some provenance of central Spain, as is the case of ‘Albarracín’ at the driest zones of the interior of Galicia..

In 2013 there was a first genetic selecting cutting in the progeny trials of 1995. These trials will be able to be classified in the very near future as base materials in the CNMB. Moreover, in recent years, we selected 16 genotypes to be part of the Elite Population of the species, which consists of four groups of improvement: growth, straightness, resistance to large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) and chancroid resinous resistance (caused by the fungus Fusarium circinatum). These genotypes are being grafted and planted in a germplasm bank. We are also making controlled crossings between these genotypes, as well as we are carrying out trials of resistance to Bursaphelenchus xylophilus in order to find resistant or tolerant material to pine wilting caused by this nematode.


Orixe das poboacións e ensaios de procedencias e inter-procedencias


Origin of Galician progenies

The first provenance trial of the species was established by Fernando Molina in the 50’s, nearby ‘Cuntis’ (Pontevedra). In this trial he evaluated 24 provenances, from Galicia and the rest of Spain, France and Portugal. 10 years later. we evaluated growth, ramification and shape of the shaft. The analysis of the results showed that the local breed (As Neves) was superior to all others in terms of gracefulness and low ramification, as well as one of the best in volume production.

On the basis of these results and the great demand for seed of the species, in the 80s, we began a breeding program of the species selecting trees of local provenance, Galicia-Coast (information about this program can be found in section Progenies).

In 2000, we established three new provenance trials (Becerreá -Lugo-, Guntín -Lugo- and Laza -Ourense-) each one attached to a progeny test of the program of improvement. In these trials we evaluated seven provenances of the interior of Spain. The results of the evaluated characters in the trials, show that the materials of the galician program of improvement have a better growth than the provenances of the interior of Spain, and their ramification is also among the best, even when establishing plantations in the interior of Galicia. However, in these areas we also can recommend planting materials of Albarracín provenance, especially in those dier areas of the interior of Galicia, and Serrania de Cuenca provenance, but in the last one it is necessary to select a suitable seed source, because there is a big variability within the provenance.

Continuing the purpose of researching the best material for the inner zone of Galicia, in 2003 we made controlled crossings between provenances, trying to get hybrid interprovenances taht could show hybrid vigor or combination of characters of interest. With the obtained material, we established three interprovenance trials (Rianxo –A Coruña-, Mandín – Ourense and Noceda- Lugo-). In these trials we found represented four pure provenances and seven hybrid provenances. In addition to field trials, we made a test of drought with this material. The conclusions obtained from the analysis of this test showed that the material of the galician improvement program might not be the most appropriate in extremely dry areas of Galicia, although these are very few.


(R-pp-21) de la Mata, R., Zas, R. (2010) Transferring Atlantic maritime pine improved material to a region with marked Mediterranean influence in inland NW Spain: A likelihood-based approach on spatially adjusted field data. European Journal of Forest Research 129(4):645-658

(R-pp-18) Martins, P., Sampedro, L., Moreira, X., Zas, R. (2009) Nutritional status and genetic variation in the response to nutrient availability inPinus pinaster. A multisite field study in Northwest Spain.Forest Ecology and Management 258(7):1429-1436

(R-pp-13) Martins, P., Zas, R., Sampedro, L.. (2008) Plasticidad fenotípica de Pinus pinaster frente a la disponibilidad de nutrientes. Cuadernos de la Sociedad Española de Ciencia Forestal 24:67-73

(R-pp-16) Zas, R., Merlo, E. (2008) El programa de mejora genética de Pinus pinaster en GaliciaBoletín  CIDEU    5

(R-pp-9) Zas, R., Sampedro, L., Prada, E., Lombardero, M.J., Fernández-López, J. (2006) Fertilization increases Hylobius abietis L. damage inPinus pinaster Ait. Seedlings. Forest Ecology and Management 222(1-3):137-144

(R-pp-9) Zas, R., Sampedro, L., Prada, E., Lombardero, M.J., Fernández-López, J. (2006) Fertilization increases Hylobius abietis L. damage inPinus pinaster Ait. Seedlings. Forest Ecology and Management 222(1-3):137-144

(R-pp-7) Zas, R., Sampedro, L., Prada, E., Fernández-López, J. (2005) Genetic variation of Pinus pinaster Ait. seedlings in susceptibility to the pine weevil Hylobius abietis L. Annals of Forest Science 62(7):681-688

(R-pp-6) Zas, R., Fernández-López, J. (2005) Juvenile Genetic Parameters and Genotypic Stability of Pinus pinaster Ait. Open-Pollinated Families under Different Water and Nutrient Regimes. Forest Science 51(2):165-174

(R-pp-5) Zas, R., Merlo, E., Fernández-López, J. (2004) Genotype x environment interaction in Maritime pine families in Galicia, NW Spain. Silvae Genetica 53(4):175-182

(R-pp-4)  Zas, R., Merlo, E., Fernández-López, J. (2004) Juvenile – mature genetic correlation in Pinus pinaster Ait. under different nutrient x water regimes. Silvae Genetica 53(3):124-129

(R-pp-3) Merlo, E., Fernández-López, J. (2004) Análisis del balance parental reproductivo en un huerto semillero de Pinus pinaster Ait. Investigación Agraria: Sistemas y Recursos Forestales 13(2):387-397

(R-pp-2)  Zas, R., Merlo, E., Fernández-López, J. (2003) Genetic parameter estimates for Maritime pine in the Atlantic Coast of North-West Spain. Forest Genetics 11:45-53