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Terminology changes with the times

Brad Potts
University of Tasmania

The containment of introduced germplasm to the initial site of planting is an issue not only in forestry, but also in agriculture, horticulture, environmental restoration and in ornamental plantings (gardens and roadsides etc).  The spread of planted forestry germplasm beyond the target site may occur through seed dispersal and ‘wildling’ establishment, pollen dispersal and hybridisation (followed by introgression), or a combination of both.  The main plantation eucalypts in Australia (E. globulus and E. nitens) have relative poor seed dispersal mechanisms and pollen dispersal is believed to be a major factor affecting the spread of genes. Assessing the risks and consequences of pollen-mediated gene flow from non-local introduced species (or germplasm) into wild local populations is the objective of research subproject 4.2.6.   However, as our research progresses we are finding that the terminology describing this process is evolving.  Terms such as 'genetic incursion', 'genetic pollution' and 'exotic gene flow' are all being used to describe the process of hybridisation and introgression between introduced populations and wild populations.  A full discussion of this terminology can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_pollution