Current issue: 55(2)
Salix viminalis L. is an important shrub that has potential for use as a bioenergy crop, for phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soil and sewage sludge treatment. It is mainly distributed in the northeast of China, but the species has not yet been used a resource here. We examined the genetic diversity and population structure of populations from the Ergun basin and West Liao basin using 20 microsatellite markers. A high level of genetic diversity (Na = 16.45, He = 0.742) was detected for S. viminalis, and populations from the Ergun basin exhibited higher genetic diversity and private alleles numbers than the West Liao basin. The 12 populations could be divided into two clusters by both Bayesian analysis and UPGMA clustering which were consistent with the populations derived from the two basins. Moderate population differentiation (FST = 0.076) was shown in S. viminalis, and AMOVA analysis confirmed that most of the genetic variation (86.13%) was attributed to individual differences within populations, while 11.49% was attributed to differences between basins and 2.38% to differences within each basin. Significant correlations of FST/(1–FST) with log (geographic distance) among 12 populations (r = 0.634, p < 0.00) and 10 populations within the Ergun basin (r = 0.482, p = 0.0002) indicated that geographical distance was the principal factor influencing genetic structure. As most of genetic variation exist within populations, so protection measures should be focused on populations with higher genetic diversity and unique alleles, such as Tuli, Mordaga downstream, Zhadun1 and Genhe.
Different environmental factors were studied to determine which factors influence the species richness, composition and structure of vascular plants in Pinus sylvestris L. forests in a fixed dune landscape in south-western Estonia. In addition to site topographic factors, different environmental parameters were investigated. Thirty-four vascular plant species were recorded in 232 quadrats. The most abundant species was Vaccinium vitis-idaea L., which was in 82.8% of quadrats, followed by Vaccinium myrtillus L. (74.1%), Melampyrum pratense L. (71.1%) and Deschampsia flexuosa (L.) Trin. (69.8%). The multiple response permutation procedure (MRPP) showed considerable differences in species composition at the bottoms of dunes compared with that on the slopes and at the tops of dunes. Indicator species analysis (ISA) determined species exhibited characteristics specific to zone: V. myrtillus had the highest indicator value at the bottoms of dunes; Calluna vulgaris L., at the tops. Soils were Haplic Podzols, and the presence of humus horizon depended on zone. Soil conditions on the dunes were variable and site specific, in general, soils at the bottoms of the dunes were more acidic and moist compared with those of the slopes and tops of the dunes, and the nutrient content decreased toward the dune tops. According to non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) and linear mixed model analyses, species coverage, composition and richness were controlled by site-specific factors such as absolute height, location and aspect of the quadrat on the dune; soil nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus contents; soil pH and moisture; light conditions; and the thickness of the litter horizon.
Genetically improved Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) are used extensively in operational Swedish forestry plantations to increase production. Depending on the genetic status of the plant material, the current estimated genetic gain in growth is in the range 10–20% for these species and this is expected to increase further in the near future. However, growth models derived solely from data relating to genetically improved material in Sweden are still lacking. In this study we investigated whether an individual tree growth model based on data from unimproved material could be used to predict the height increment in young trials of genetically improved Norway spruce and Scots pine. Data from 11 genetic experiments with large genetic variation, ranging from offspring of plus-trees selected in the late 1940s to highly improved clonal materials selected from well performing provenances were used. The data set included initial heights at the age of 7–15 years and 5-year increments for almost 2000 genetic entries and more than 20 000 trees. The evaluation indicated that the model based on unimproved trees predicted height development relatively well for genetically improved Norway spruce and there was no need to incorporate a genetic component. However, for Scots pine, the model needed to be modified. A genetic component was developed based on the genetic difference recorded within each trial, using mixed linear models and methods from quantitative genetics. By incorporating the genetic component, the prediction errors were significantly reduced for Scots pine. This study provides the first step to incorporate genetic gains into Swedish growth models and forest management planning systems.
Results on early survival, growth and shoot phenology of hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) and poplar clones (P. trichocarpa Torr. & A. Gray, P. balsamifera L., P. maximowiczii A. Henry and their hybrids) in 13 Scandinavian field trials are presented. The trials were established on forest land (7 sites) or former agricultural land (6 sites) within the latitude range of 56° to 65° N and were assessed 3–4 years after establishment. The main aim was to evaluate phenotypic and genetic differences related to early survival, growth and phenology for hybrid aspen and poplar for different site types and latitudes. Growth and survival was generally higher for hybrid aspen than poplar at all sites. The poor performance of poplar compared to hybrid aspen is likely due to climatic maladaptation or high soil acidity. The early growth performance of the species need to be confirmed at a higher age. The genetic variation and genetic control for growth, phenology and survival was in general intermediate to large indicating good possibilities for effective clonal selection. The genetic site x site correlations (rGE) for growth were for hybrid aspen mostly strong, indicating a weak genotype by environment interaction, while rGE were inconsistent for poplars.The result suggests that southern Sweden can be treated as a single test and utilization zone and in northern Sweden the region along the coast may be another zone. It is too early to make any corresponding conclusions for poplar. In addition, the result backs up the current recommendations for utilization of selected hybrid aspen and poplar regeneration material in Sweden.
Downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) stands on drained peatlands are often considered useless because they typically do not yield good-quality sawn timber. However, covering an area of ca. 0.5 million hectares and with total yields of up to 250 m3 ha–1, downy birch stands on peatlands in Finland have a potential for pulpwood and/or energy wood production. We examined the financial performance of alternative management regimes (with or without thinnings, different thinning intensities, several rotation lengths) combined with alternative harvesting methods (pulpwood, energy wood, or integrated, energy wood being delimbed stems or whole trees). We used data from 19 experimental stands, monitored for 20–30 years. For harvesting removals we considered both actual thinning removals and final-cutting removals with alternative timings that were based on the monitoring data. We assessed the profitability as a combination of the net present value of the birch generation and the bare land value of future generations of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). The most profitable management was growing without thinnings until whole-tree final cutting at the stand age of 40–45 years with an advanced multi-tree harvesting method. In contrast, the standard method in whole-tree final cutting resulted in the lowest profitability, and an integrated method with the energy wood as delimbed stems was the best of the standard methods. Thinnings were unprofitable especially when aiming to produce energy wood, whereas aiming for pulpwood, light precommercial thinning was competitive. Commercial thinning at the traditional “pulpwood stage” had little effect on profitability. The best stand age for final cutting was 40–65 years – earlier for very dense stands and whole-tree energy wood harvesting with advanced method, later for precommercially thinned stands and pulpwood harvesting.
The objective of our study was to assess the genetic and morphological differentiation of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) in Lithuania based on DNA markers, skull and anther morphology. DNA was extracted from 79 culled individuals at 13 locations and genotyped at five nuclear microsatellite loci. Based on culling location, individuals were assigned to either a field (N = 43) or a forest ecotype (N = 36). Skull and antler morphometry was studied on 603 and 292 individuals, respectively. Results showed no significant genetic and skull morphology differentiation between the ecotypes. The forest ecotype tends to exhibit lower genetic diversity compared to the field ecotype, particularly for male individuals. The genetic differentiation of roe deer in Lithuania was significant based on the RST values, but not on the FST values. A STRUCTURE analyses revealed southern and northern genetic clusters, most likely affected by divergent gene flow. The country’s major rivers Nemunas and Neris are likely to increase differentiation between the clusters. ANOVA on skull morphology by gender and age indicated a significant effect of geographical location. Skull size (especially length) is greater in the northern part of the country. We also found significant effects of age, ecotype and geographical location on most of the roe deer male antler morphometric traits.
The literature on the most prominent forest damage related to even-aged and uneven-aged forest management regimes was reviewed. A questionnaire to expert researchers was conducted to estimate risks in even-aged and uneven-aged forest management chains in Finland. There are only a few empirical comparisons of damage risks in even- and uneven-aged stands in the literature. The results from the expert survey showed that the damage risks were higher in even-aged management in Norway spruce and Scots pine. However, the variation in the risks between individual chains and between individual causes was high. The highest risks in Scots pine were caused by moose (in even-aged chains) and harvesting damage (in uneven-aged chains). In Norway spruce, root rot caused the highest risks in both even-aged and uneven-aged chains. The higher risks in even-aged forestry are largely due to the many associated practices which favour various types of damage. However, there are some important exceptions: the damage risks may be higher in some uneven-aged stands, especially in Norway spruce stands infected with root rot where the utilization of undergrowth or natural regeneration can be risky. Moreover, the repeated thinnings in uneven-aged stands may lead to increased mechanical damage.
The impacts of weed control, ash fertilization and their interaction were tested for the afforestation of former agricultural peat-based soil with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in northern Finland in a factorial arrangement of four treatments. Weed control with herbicides was carried out in July 1 and 2 years from planting, and wood ash (5 Mg ha–1) was applied in the spring of the 2nd year. Various vegetation, tree growth and nutrient assessments were made over the 21-year study period. Weed control decreased the weed cover by 36–56 percentage points, vegetation height by 4–26 cm and thus shading of seedlings by vegetation for at least 4 years after planting. For the same period, ash fertilization increased vegetation height by 6–15 cm and shading of seedlings. Weed control reduced seedling mortality by 27 percentage points in 21 years, but ash fertilization had no significant effect. Ash fertilization increased foliar potassium and boron concentrations, but its effect declined, and severe K-deficiency was recorded 21 years after planting. Up to the 9th year, weed control had a greater influence on growth than fertilization. Later the significance of fertilization increased due to an aggravated K-deficiency. Stand volume at year 21 for the untreated control plots was 8 m3 ha–1. Weed control and fertilization increased stand volume by 20 and 35 m3 ha–1, with a combined effect of 55 m3 ha–1. The effects of weed control and fertilization were additive and no significant interactions were found. Due to severe K-deficiencies, re-fertilization of all treatments would be necessary for the continued survival and growth of Scots pine.
Tree stands in the boreal treeline ecotone are, in addition to climate change, impacted by disturbances such as fire, water-related disturbances and logging. We aim to understand how these disturbances affect growth, age structure, and spatial patterns of larch stands in the north-eastern Siberian treeline ecotone (lower Kolyma River region), an insufficiently researched region. Stand structure of Larix cajanderi Mayr was studied at seven sites impacted by disturbances. Maximum tree age ranged from 44 to 300 years. Young to medium-aged stands had, independent of disturbance type, the highest stand densities with over 4000 larch trees per ha. These sites also had the highest growth rates for tree height and stem diameter. Overall lowest stand densities were found in a polygonal field at the northern end of the study area, with larches growing in distinct “tree islands”. At all sites, saplings are significantly clustered. Differences in fire severity led to contrasting stand structures with respect to tree, recruit, and overall stand densities. While a low severity fire resulted in low-density stands with high proportions of small and young larches, high severity fires resulted in high-density stands with high proportions of big trees. At water-disturbed sites, stand structure varied between waterlogged and drained sites and latitude. These mixed effects of climate and disturbance make it difficult to predict future stand characteristics and the treeline position.
Accurate estimates of both above-ground biomass (AGB) and below-ground biomass (BGB) are essential for estimating carbon (C) balances at various geographical scales and formulating effective climate change mitigation programs. However, estimating BGB is challenging, particularly for forest ecosystems, so robust allometric equations are needed. To obtain such equations for savanna-woodlands of the West African north sudanian zone, we selected four common native woody species (Anogeissus leiocarpa (DC.) Guill. & Perr., Detarium microcarpum Guill. & Perr., Piliostigma thonningii (Schumach.) Milne-Redh. and Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.). At two sites in Burkina Faso, we determined the BGB of 30 trees of each of these species by excavation, and measured various above-ground dimensional variables. The root:shoot ratio varied widely among the species, from 0.1 to 3.4. Depending on the species, allometric equations based on stem basal area at 20 cm height, basal area at breast height and tree height explained 50–95% of the variation in BGB. The best generic equation we obtained, based on basal area at 20 cm, explained 60% of the variation in BGB across the species. Three previously published generic allometric equations underestimated BGB by 8 to 63%. The presented equations should significantly improve the accuracy of BGB estimates in savanna-woodlands and help avoid costly needs to excavate root systems.
Boom corridor thinning (BCT) has been proposed as a cost-effective technique for biomass thinning (BT) in young dense stands. The objective of this study was to determine how various BCT operations affect stand structure following biomass thinning and to compare the results with conventional selective thinning methods. Two series of field experiments were established; BCT 1-series: Three sites in south of Sweden (9 and 11 m in mean and dominating tree height) with five treatments, including a control, conventional selective thinning and three BCT treatments (1 m and 2 m wide corridors and selective BCT). The second BCT series: Three regions in Sweden (in the north, centre and in the south), with two stand sites in each region with different tree heights (4/9 m and 5/10 m in mean/dominating tree height). Treatments were control, pre-commercial thinning (PCT), conventional selective thinning and BCT (high and low thinning). Following the first biomass thinning, BCT regimes and selective thinning methods resulted in similar stand structures based on the number of possible future crop trees (>80 mm in diameter at breast height). However, BCT maintained a higher diversity of tree sizes as well as more stems per hectare, including deciduous species, than the selective thinning approaches. The stands after BCT should have more vertical complexity, especially when compared to pre-commercial thinning. The structural heterogeneity resulting from BCT may also increase stand biodiversity and ecosystem service values.
Trees from the family Rosaceae play an important role in forest and agricultural ecosystems. Therefore, they are often an object of interest for both forest and horticultural tree breeders. Here, we present the utilization of an effective microsatellite (SSRs) genotyping method for wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) and verified the discriminatory power of the presented multiplex by genotyping 48 genetically distinctive individuals (plus-trees). Concerned loci were previously proven to be cross-compatible among various cultivars of cherry, hence, the method could have a broader utilization beyond to the field of forestry.
Our technique is based on post-PCR processing of 15 polymorphic SSRs loci amplified in three multiplex reactions with fluorescently labeled primers (6-FAM, VIC, PET and NED). All PCR products could be pooled and analyzed simultaneously (pseudo 15-plex). In order to make this approach feasible, we redefined sequences of several primers. Thus, utilizing modified primers provides non-overlapping amplicons of each fluorescent dye.