Challenges for forest geneticists.
Studies of phenotypic as well as mixed population plasticities are urgently needed in a world that supposedly experiences a gradual change of its environment. It is important to understand that man creates his environment and silviculture. This is one of the reasons why for breeding it cannot be expected to find optimal phenotypes in nature. Other reasons are the phylogenetic constraints and migration of pollen and seeds.
Forest genetics up to now is characterized by the study of one trait at a time. There is an urgent need for simultaneous analysis of several traits by the aid of genetic correlations or multivariate analysis. Generally there is a need for inclusion of larger numbers of genetic entries in forest genetic investigations.
For the long-rotation-time species there is a need to determine the curves for degree of dormancy and hardiness during the annual cycle. Information of plasticity in two-dimensional environments like water availability and temperature is needed. Studies on nutrient utilization and acquisition will tell us whether or not we must have different breeding populations for different soil fertilities. An understanding of the phase changes between juvenile and adult opens up possible applications such as faster generation turn-over in the breeding population via early flowering and early testing as well as better plants for frost-prone and weedy sites.
Published in 1991