Current issue: 56(4)
Under compilation: 57(1)
Studies of phenotypic as well as mixed population plasticities are urgently needed in a world that supposedly experiences a gradual change of its environment. It is important to understand that man creates his environment and silviculture. This is one of the reasons why for breeding it cannot be expected to find optimal phenotypes in nature. Other reasons are the phylogenetic constraints and migration of pollen and seeds.
Forest genetics up to now is characterized by the study of one trait at a time. There is an urgent need for simultaneous analysis of several traits by the aid of genetic correlations or multivariate analysis. Generally there is a need for inclusion of larger numbers of genetic entries in forest genetic investigations.
For the long-rotation-time species there is a need to determine the curves for degree of dormancy and hardiness during the annual cycle. Information of plasticity in two-dimensional environments like water availability and temperature is needed. Studies on nutrient utilization and acquisition will tell us whether or not we must have different breeding populations for different soil fertilities. An understanding of the phase changes between juvenile and adult opens up possible applications such as faster generation turn-over in the breeding population via early flowering and early testing as well as better plants for frost-prone and weedy sites.
Resistance to browsing by mammals differs among birch species, and among origins and families of European white birch (Betula pendula Roth). The variation in resistance is large even among individual seedlings of the same family.
On the surface of the bark of European white birch seedlings there are resin droplets, and the number of droplets is strongly and positively correlated with resistance to browsing by hares. The resistance of European white birch apparently is not expensive metabolically because the rapid growth rate of seedlings was positively correlated with hare resistance, and no correlation was found between seedling size and vole resistance. In cafeteria experiments voles and hares were very discriminating in their feeding on birch seedlings. In field experiments, however, environmental heterogeneity partly masked differences in vole resistance among birch families. Fertilization of seedlings seems not to have a clear effect on resistance to hares. On the other hand, there were indications that greenhouse temperature had an effect on resistance to voles. Practical forestry applications of differences in resistance, e.g. use of species hybrids and clonal forestry, are discussed. The prospects for resistance breeding are good.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.