Forest species have great economic importance due to the wide range of important products offered to society. Techniques improvement can increase the productivity of planted forests, providing the desired characteristics to industry, as well as, reducing environmental impacts. However, the low variability existing in fast-growing species, the long reproductive cycles period and the difficulties encountered when conducting controlled crossings may prevent such procedures. The aim of this research was to carry out a review on the contribution of genetic improvement in perennial species. Conventional techniques with special emphasis on biotechnology were reported. The tissue culture, the use of molecular markers and genetic transformation offer unique solutions to forestry improvement. The major features that have been improved are linked to production of biomass, changes in the composition of lignin, resistance to pests, tolerance to herbicides, male-sterility and phytoremediation. Significant contributions to industry and environment have been achieved through these techniques.
tissue culture; molecular markers; genetic transformation