Current issue: 56(4)
Micropropagated and seed-borne plants of sliver birch (Betula pendula Roth) were compared for survival and growth in a field trial at the age of six years. Three clones for micropropagation were selected from open-pollinated progenies of selected southern Finnish plus trees at the age of 17 and 20. The three seed-borne lots were of southern Finnish stand origin. The best two lots of the experiment as regards the height and diameter growth at the age of six were the clones. The best of these differed significantly from the best-growing seed-grown lot. The weakest lot of the experiment was also a clone which was clearly slow-growing with a dense and bushy crown. Survival of the material was high (mean = 94%), and there was no damage caused by voles and elks, for example. The results clearly show that the selection of material for clonal propagation should be done carefully. The clones should also be tested for performance in the field before propagation on a large scale.
Independent of genotype, increased spacing results in increased branch diameter of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), but on different levels for different genotypes. Frequency of defects like spike knots and crooked stems are under stronger genetic than silvicultural control. Simultaneous improvement of rate of growth and timber properties is feasible. Deteriorating of both factors can happen rapidly at a negative selection. A defect like stem cracking of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) only manifests itself under drought stress when certain genetic and environmental prerequisites are present, like high fertility and wide spacing. This emphasize the fact that new silvicultural methods may reveal genetic weaknesses.
After a presentation of basic biodiversity concepts, reviews are made of studies reporting genetic implications of tree improvement activities: seed treatments, seedling production, provenance transfers, plus tree selection, seed production in seed orchards and progeny testing.
Several of the activities may influence the genetic structure and diversity of the planted forests. The general conclusion is, however, that planted forests are at least as genetically diverse as the natural stands that they replace. The diversity in forest management and use is best assurance for the future adaptability of the forests.
Seed production of micropropagated plants, seedlings and grafts of Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in a polyethylene greenhouse experiment was followed for five years. The grafts started flowering and seed production at the age of two years, one year earlier than other two types of material. At the age of three the seed production of both micropropagated plants and seedlings was already more than two times higher than that of the grafts. Variation between the clones was high and plant type x clone interaction was significant. At the age of four, in 1993, seed production was high in all three types of material. Seed production of the micropropagated plants was two times higher than that of the grafts but about 75% of that of the seedlings. In 1994 seed production of all three plant types was very low, which shows large variation between different years. The early development of the plant material types suggests that micropropagated plants have higher seed production than grafts and could well be used instead of grafts in polythene greenhouse seed orchards.
Genetic variation in 5 natural stands of Quercus robur L. in Finland was analysed electrophoretically for 13 isozyme loci. Stands were on average polymorphic at 49.2% of the loci, with 2.1 alleles per locus. Observed heterozygosities, ranging from 13.6% to 16.9%, were slightly lower than estimates reported for German stands. The majority of the species’ genetic variation was found within each studied stand, and only 5.5% was between stands. Mean genetic differentiation (∂) was the same as that found in the primary range of the species, but the differentiation estimates (D) for single Finnish population were more variable.
Budburst timing and the relationship to storage temperature and duration were investigated in four varieties (entries) of 1–2 metres tall silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) trees. A total of 2,160 shoots were sampled, and the material stores in darkness at 0, 3 or 6 °C from November 29, 1993. When the shoots were placed in storage, they had been through a period of 29 days with temperatures below 0°C (since October 15). By that time the autumn dormancy was assumed already broken, and the trees were expected to respond to increased temperature by bud development. On January 4, 1994, and on four subsequent dates, January 19, February 1, March 4 and March 17, shoots were taken out of storage and set in growth chambers at 9, 12 or 15°C. The time to budburst was recorded.
Duration of storage, storage temperatures and varieties were all highly significant for budburst. The interaction terms were of less statistical importance. Based on the contrast between the three different growth chamber environments, three different methods were used to calculate the threshold temperatures for each entry. In spite of the pre-selection of variable budburst performers, the threshold values, varying between 0°C to -2°C, could not be shown to be statistically different. According to the results, the time of budburst changes in accordance with both winter and spring temperatures, being extremely early after a mild winter and warm spring, given sufficient autumn chilling. The similarities in the threshold temperatures indicate that the ranking in earliness between varieties will most likely be the same from year to year without regard to climate change.
Temperature sums required for budburst in various Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) provenances were determined, and weather statistics were then used to predict the risk of potentially damaging frosts at 11 locations in Sweden. Frost risk was quantified as the probability of a frost occurring within 100 day-degrees (two weeks) after budburst. The examples provided show that a spruce seedling from central Sweden has to sustain almost twice as many frost occassions as a seedling from Belorussia, when planted in southern and central Sweden. The method presented here can be used for mapping early summer frost risk in Sweden and for supporting provenance transfer guidelines.
Seedlings of Picea abies (L.) H. Karst. full-sib families of contrasting origins were cultivated in a phytotron under different photoperiodic, light-intensity and temperature treatments during their first growth period. The effects of the treatments on juvenile growth traits – whether enhanced or delayed maturation was induces – were observed during the two subsequent growth periods. The following hypotheses were tested: (A) Enhanced maturation can be induced in the first growth period from sowing with (i) a long period of continuous light during active growth (24 weeks vs. 8 weeks); (ii) a shorter night during bud maturation (12 h vs. 16 h); high temperature (25°C vs. 20°C) during (iii) active growth, growth cessation and bud maturation; and during (iv) the latter part of growth cessation and bud maturation only. (B) Delayed maturation can be induced after (i) low light intensity during growth cessation and bud maturation (114 μmol m-2 s-1 vs. 340 μmol m-2 s-1); low temperature (15°C vs. 20°C) during (ii) active growth, growth cessation and bud maturation; and during (iii) the latter part of growth cessation and bud maturation only.
The most dramatic effect was observed after 24 weeks of continuous light during active growth. All traits showed a significantly more mature performance in the second growth period compared with the control. The effect for all but one trait was carried over to the third growth period. This is in accordance with the hypothesis that the activity of apical shoot meristems controls the maturation process. For the other treatments there was only weak or no support for the hypothesis of induction of enhanced or delayed maturation. Strong family effects were observed for all traits. Differential responses of the various latitudinal families were observed, suggesting that family effects must be considered to predict and interpret correctly how plants will respond to environmental effects.