Tree breeders face the problem of negative correlations between wood properties and growth traits. It is necessary to overcome this difficulty in order to obtain promising genotypes. The selection index is one of the helpful tools in this process, because it allows multiple features of interest to be selected. In this study, a multiple trait selection index for Khasi pine (Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon) grown in Malawi was developed. Data on wood properties and growth traits were collected from six families of P. kesiya at the age of 30 years. The breeding objective was defined in terms of wood stiffness, wood strength and volume. Selection traits included in the index were wood stiffness (MoE), wood strength (MoR), volume (Vol.), wood density (WD), and diameter at breast height (DBH). The index was termed as IT = -80.36 MoE - 14.60 MoR + 132.07 Vol. + 4858.09 WD - 7.56 DBH. The accuracy of the index was 98.8% and the correlation between the index and the aggregate breeding objective was 0.994. A genetic gain of 16.7% for volume, 14.8% for wood stiffness and 13.2% for wood strength would be expected from a standardized 10% selection intensity. Therefore, application of the developed selection index is necessary in order to increase the efficiency of the Pinus kesiya breeding programme in Malawi.
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