Current issue: 54(2)
The mean temperature during the potential growing season (April–September) may increase by 1 °C by 2030, and by 4 °C, or even more, by 2100, accompanied by an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 536–807 ppm, compared to the current climate of 1981–2010, in which atmospheric CO2 is at about 350 ppm. This may affect both the growth and frost hardiness of boreal trees. In this work, we studied the responses of height and autumn frost hardiness development in 22 half-sib genotypes of one-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seedlings to elevated temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration under greenhouse conditions. The three climate treatments used were: T+1 °C above ambient and ambient CO2; T+4 °C above ambient and ambient CO2; and T+4 °C above ambient and elevated CO2 (700 ppm). The height growth rate and final height were both higher under T+4 °C compared to T+1 °C. Temperature increase also delayed the onset, and shortened the duration, of autumn frost hardiness development. Elevated CO2 did not affect the development of height or frost hardiness, when compared to the results without CO2 elevation under the same temperature treatment. Higher temperatures resulted in greater variation in height and frost hardiness development among genotypes. Three genotypes with different genetic backgrounds showed superior height growth, regardless of climate treatment; however, none showed a superior development of autumn frost hardiness. In future studies, clonal or full-sib genetic material should be used to study the details of autumn frost hardiness development among different genotypes.
In Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), it has been shown that the parental conditions have a role in the phenological variation among first-year seedlings. For this reason, it is argued that they should be comprehensively controlled before estimating the parental genotype effects. This controlled-cross study examined the effects of a set of fathers of Scots pines on the timing of budset and autumn frost hardening of first-year seedlings. The paternal genotypes had either a northern or southern provenance, but had spent a period of over 25 years as grafts in a shared climatic environment in two closely located southern orchards. Pollen applied in the crosses was collected from these orchards in one year and all the maternal genotypes were pollinated in only one seed orchard. The results of freeze tests and budset observations of the consequent progeny were analysed and additionally compared with results obtained using seedlings from seed lots of natural forests in order to estimate the ability of northern paternal genotypes to maintain a northern effect under southern conditions. This environmentally controlled study demonstrated a significant effect of the paternal genotype on the budset and autumn frost hardening of first-year seedling of Scots pine. With the applied study design, no significant indication of an environmental influence on the effect of the paternal genotype was obtained. The accuracy of the observations is discussed. It is concluded that the results suggest a minor role of mutability in the effects of Scots pine paternal genotypes.
Populations at species’ range margins are expected to show lower genetic diversity than populations at the core of the range. Yet, long-lived, widespread tree species are expected to be resistant to genetic impoverishment, thus showing comparatively high genetic diversity within populations and low differentiation among populations. Here, we study the distribution of genetic variation in the pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) at its range margin in Finland at two hierarchical scales using 15 microsatellite loci. At a regional scale, we compared variation within versus among three oak populations. At a landscape scale, we examined genetic structuring within one of these populations, growing on an island of ca 5 km2. As expected, we found the majority of genetic variation in Q. robur to occur within populations. Nonetheless, differentiation among populations was markedly high (FST = 0.12) compared with values reported for populations of Q. robur closer to the core of its range. At the landscape level, some spatial and temporal sub-structuring was observed, likely explained by the history of land-use on the island. Overall, Q. robur fulfils the expectation of the central-marginal hypothesis of high differentiation among marginal populations, but the notable population differentiation has most likely been influenced also by the long, ongoing fragmentation of populations. Finnish oak populations may still be adjusting to the drastic habitat changes of the past centuries. Preservation of genetic variation within the remaining stands is thus an important factor in the conservation of Q. robur at its range margin.
Seedlings from four Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) stands originating from areas with effective temperature sums ranging from 710 d.d. to 1,150 d.d. were raised under artificial light and temperature treatment. After a 10-week growing period the hardening process was started by subjecting the seedlings to +8°C night temperature and +15°C day temperature, and increasing the night length by 1.5 hour/week. Hardiness was measured by means of artificial freezing treatment (-10°C or -15°C), followed by visual estimation of the degree of needle injury. The stem height, lignification and bud development were measured before the freezing treatment. The amount of injury increased the more southern the origin of the tested material was. Furthermore, the proportion of non-lignified part of the seedling stem was negatively correlated with the latitude of the provenances. The proportion of seedlings with clearly visible buds was more than 90% in the northernmost entry and less than 1% in the southernmost one. The overall correlation coefficient between the needle injuries and the proportion of non-lignified part of the stem was rather high, but varied considerably from 0.3 in the northernmost material to over 0.6 in the southern provenances. According to the results, it seems to be possible to use growth characteristics as an indicator of frost hardiness at the provenance level.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
Crown characteristics and the distribution of three years’ (1986–88) biomass production of 20 pendulous Norway spruce (Picea abies f. pendula (Lawson) Sylvén) trees with heritable narrow crown and 15 normal-growned spruces (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) were studied in a 19-year-old mixed stand.
The form of the crown is conical in normal-crowned trees, columnar and narrow in pendulous trees. The partitioning of aboveground biomass to stems during the studied 3-year period was significantly higher in pendulous (0.281) than in normal-crowned trees (0.255) and also the ratio between growth of stemwood and growth of needle biomass during three years was higher in pendulous trees (0.67 g g-1) than in normal-crowned trees (0.52 g g-1). The needle biomass was distributed higher in the crown in pendula than in normal-crowned trees and they had a higher needle biomass/branchwood biomass ratio than normal trees. The difference in harvest increment between the two crown types are mostly due to the significantly lower branchwood biomass values in pendulous than in normal-crowned trees. The higher needle ’efficiency’ in pendulous trees is probably connected with high partitioning of needle biomass to the upper part of the crown in pendulous trees.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.