With the rapid development of the next-generation of genome sequencing technologies, genomic selection has shown an unprecedented potential in promoting the accurate and efficient selection breeding of elite genotypes. The investigation on genomic selection in the field of genetic breeding for quantitative traits in plants and animals had been attracted more attention, and particularly the recent applications on the improvement and breeding in forest were increasingly reported. Here we summarized the basic theories and main model approaches of genomic selection, and reviewed the advances of genomic selection in animal and plant breeding. We further discussed the research status and prospects of genomic selection in woody plants, emphasized the optimization of prediction models and innovation of machine learning-based methods, and provided the integrated breeding strategies combining with genome wide association studies and genome-editing technologies. These comprehensive breeding systems provide insights into the accurate selection and breeding for excellent varieties in forest trees.