Ceiba pentandra (L.) has been selected for plantation establishment in Ghana under the National Forest Plantation Development Programme of Ghana (NFPDP). This has led to a rise in demand for its seedlings for large scale commercial plantation establishments with seed of C. pentandra being collected from the wild and used to raise seedlings to meet the demands of the programme. The primary purpose of most of these plantations is timber with height growth as one of the key economic traits. However, there is relatively inefficient information available on the heritability and genetic gain in height growth in C. pentandra based on which selection and subsequent breeding could be made. This poses a major challenge to the production of new cultivars for the forestry industry of Ghana. The current study looked at the estimation of narrow sense heritability (h2) and genetic gain in height growth in C. pentandra using 37 accessions from Ghana. Narrow sense heritability was 0.56 and genetic gain in height ranged from -52.82 to 37.30 cm/yr. Twenty-two (22) accessions (59.46%) had mean height increment above the overall mean performance and were recommended for conservation as seed trees. The results were discussed in relation with the conservation of C. pentandra genetic resources and the potential of accessions for high genetic gains.
Key words: Ceiba pentandra, narrow sense heritability, genetic gain, height growth, stem dieback disease.