Current issue: 57(2)
Under compilation: 57(3)
The aim of this study was to estimate the genetic gain of volume growth in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) selected seed stands. To obtain highest possible accuracy, the estimations are based on a large statistical material comprising 197 separate seed stands. It is concluded that the genetic gain of volume growth ranges between 7.4–15.0%. Unwanted pollen contaminations may, however, in the worst case halve this genetic gain.
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An attempt was made to estimate critically the genetic gain in clonal seed orchards of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Finland. The selection differential of Scots pine and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) is calculated on the basis of filed information on selected plus trees which has been kept by the genetic register at the Finnish Forest Research Institute. The differentials were computed as realized differences in height between plus-trees and normal stand characteristics on respectively site class and as a function of age.
The genetic gain in height growth of Pinus sylvestris was computed on the basis of information on selection differential and heritability. This genetic gain is between 2.6–4.4% provided there is no pollen contamination from unknown sources outside the seed orchard. The genetic gain of volume growth in Scots pine is about 7–15%, provided there is no pollen contamination in the seed orchard. However, according to investigations, there is invariably some pollen contamination in this kind of seed orchards. The contamination decreases to about 30–50% as the orchard matures and starts to produce endemic pollen. If the pollination would be entirely due to foreign pollen sources, the mathematically calculated genetic gain would be 3.5–7.5%.
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Investing in planting genetically improved silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in Swedish plantations requires understanding how birch stands will develop over their entire rotation. Previous studies have indicated relatively low production of birch compared to Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). This could result from using unrepresentative basic data, collected from unimproved, naturally-regenerated birch (Betula spp.) growing on inventory plots often located in coniferous stands. The objective of this study was to develop a basal area development function of improved silver birch and evaluate production over a full rotation period. We used data from 52 experiments including planted silver birch of different genetic breeding levels in southern and central Sweden. The experimental plots were established on fertile forest sites and on former agricultural lands, and were managed with different numbers of thinnings and basal area removal regimes. The model best describing total stand basal area development was a dynamic equation derived from the Korf base model. The analysis of the realized gain trial for birch showed a good stability of the early calculated relative differences in basal area between tested genotypes over time. Thus, the relative difference in basal area might be with cautious used as representation of the realized genetic gain. On average forest sites in southern Sweden, improved and planted silver birch could produce between 6–10.5 m3 ha–1 year–1, while on fertile agriculture land the average productivity might be higher, especially with material coming from the improvement program. The performed analysis provided a first step toward predicting the effects of genetic improvement on total volume production and profitability of silver birch. However, more experiments are needed to set up the relative differences between different improved material.
Genetic parameters of growth and stem quality traits were estimated for open-pollinated silver birch Betula pendula Roth progenies in Latvia at the age of 10 and 14 years. Tree height and stem volume were found to be under strong genetic control at both inventories (narrow-sense heritabilities varied from 0.41 to 0.66). Mainly low heritabilities were found for stem defects, yet genetic control of branch diameter, stem straightness and overall stem quality varied from low to high depending on study site. High additive genetic coefficient of variation was found for stem volume (25.3–32.5%). Genetic correlations among growth traits were strong and positive (0.90–0.99). Mainly weak genetic correlations between growth and quality traits implied simultaneous improvement. Still, strong negative correlations between branch angle and stem straightness might result in enlarged knot size for straighter logs. The genetic age-age correlations were strong. Weak genotype by environment interaction and stability of best genotypes over different sites was indicated by strong genetic correlations between trials. Each growth or quality trait alone showed substantial improvement in terms of estimated genetic gain (up to 62% over trial mean for stem volume). Therefore, selection index combining both growth and stem quality may be developed.