Kate Clapson is responsible for HQP’s annual seed collection
It’s the year 2022, so it seems auspicious that Kate Clapson has worked for HQPlantations (HQP), one of Australia’s largest plantation forest growers, and its predecessors for 22 years, having started as a graduate in biotechnology at 22 years old.
As HQP’s Tree Improvement and Seed Production Coordinator, it’s possible Kate has the longest job title in the company and a complex and important role.
Kate leads the implementation of HQP’s seed production program in its genetically-improved seed orchards and the long term tree improvement program that provides the foundation for the highest quality Southern Pine and Araucaria plantations.
Kate’s work supported the development and use of a DNA marker chip for tropical pines, which could in future help identify genetically outstanding trees at the seedling stage rather than waiting for field trial measurements. This has the potential to boost the rate of genetic progress in Southern Pine by as much as 50%.
“We’re not modifying the DNA, just deploying DNA technology in a highly advanced form of selective breeding through cross pollination,” said Kate.
“Not only do we care about growing really strong trees, we care about making sure it’s a renewable, sustainable, carbon sequestering resource for the future of QLD.”
A local resident herself, Kate encourages young women in the Cooloola Coast and Fraser Coast areas to consider a career in science and particularly forest management.
“I’ve been offered a lot of opportunities throughout my career and the most rewarding part about working in forest management been seeing the results of my work realised quickly in an operational setting,” she said.
For more information about HQPlantations visit www.hqplantations.com.au or follow their Facebook page @HQPlantations for all the latest news.