Current issue: 54(2)
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.