Current issue: 54(2)
Possibilities of distance-independent and -dependent competition indices to describe the competition stress of an individual tree was studied in Southern Finland. Five half-sib open-pollinated families and one check lot of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) was used as study material in order to analyse competitive interactions of crown form and stand density variation. Almost all competition indices correlated strongly with radial increment. Thus distance-independent indices were adequate to describe competition in young row plantations, where distance effects between trees were implicitly eliminated. Correlations between indices and height increment were not significant. Along with the increase in competition, the width and length of the crown and the diameter increment of the stem of some narrow-crowned families decreased slowly compared to wide-crowned families.
The paper introduces different ways plant physiology research can avail the process of tree improvement. The breeding of tree cultivars that efficiently produce a particular wood product or amenity will be an important aspect of forest management. What physiologist can provide to breeders and genetic engineers is the opportunity to move their work from empirical level towards a more theoretical level, and help to make breeding more predictable and more precise in its objectives. The areas of research discussed in the paper are biotechnology, flowering, selection criteria, adaptability and application of ideotypes.