Current issue: 53(3)
Under compilation: 53(4)
Phenology can have a profound effect on growth and climatic adaptability of long-lived, northern tree species such as Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), where the onset of growth in the spring is triggered mainly by accumulated heat, while cessation of growth is related to the joint effect of photoperiod and temperature. In this study, the objectives were: (1) to compare shoot phenology of genetic material from Scandinavia (maritime climate origin) and northern Russia (continental climate origin) sources, under field conditions in both Scandinavia and Russia (maritime and continental growth conditions); and (2) to estimate the heritabilities of phenological parameters. The material used was part of a larger provenance test series involving Scots pine populations and open-pollinated plus-tree families from Russia, Sweden and Finland. Terminal shoot elongation was measured on multiple occasions during the seventh growing season from seed at a trial near Bäcksjön (Sweden) and Syktyvkar (northern Russia). We calculated the regression of relative shoot elongation over accumulated heat sum above +5 °C using an exponential expression. Seedlings of Swedish and Russian provenance had similar heat-sum requirements for growth onset and cessation in both trials. More northern provenances started onset and cessation at a lower temperature sum, but heat accumulation requirements for onset were not fixed. Scots pine may suffer from spring frost due to earlier growth onset in a warming climate. Variation and heritability of phenological traits show potential to adapt Scots pine to new climate conditions by breeding.
In this study, we developed models of transfer effects for growth and survival of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Sweden and Finland using a general linear mixed-model approach. For model development, we used 378 provenance and progeny trials with a total of 276 unimproved genetic entries (provenances and stand seed check-lots) distributed over a wide variety of climatic conditions in both countries. In addition, we used 119 progeny trials with 3921 selected genetic entries (open- and control pollinated plus-tree families) for testing model performance. As explanatory variables, both climatic indices derived from high-resolution gridded climate datasets and geographical variables were used. For transfer, latitude (photoperiod) and, for describing the site, temperature sum were found to be main drivers for both survival and growth. In addition, interaction terms (between transfer in latitude and site altitude for survival, and transfer in latitude and temperature sum for growth) entail changed reaction patterns of the models depending on climatic conditions of the growing site. The new models behave in a way that corresponds well to previous studies and recommendations for both countries. The model performance was tested using selected plus-trees from open and control pollinated progeny tests. Results imply that the models are valid for both countries and perform well also for genetically improved material. These models are the first step in developing common deployment recommendations for genetically improved forest regeneration material in both Sweden and Finland.