In today’s rapid development of new technology breeding, clarifying the connotations and roles of conventional and unconventional tree breeding and their interrelationships, and drawing on the experience of tree, crop and livestock breeding in forestry-developed countries can help scientifically choose suitable breeding technologies according to the characteristics of tree species and their breeding status, and promote the process of improved variety efficiently in China. This paper briefly reviews the development history, characteristics and roles of biological breeding technologies from ancient breeding to modern breeding and new technology breeding. The conventional breeding and the unconventional breeding were also defined. The roles of the conventional and unconventional forest tree breeding technologies of forest tree breeding and their relationships were elucidated based on the characteristics of population genetic variations. It is emphasized that the conventional forest tree breeding is the core and cornerstone of forest tree breeding, while the unconventional forest tree breeding, especially new technology breeding, is the innovation and development of forest tree breeding. The problems that need to be paid attention to during the development of forest tree breeding and seed industry innovation were discussed in China.