Long-term growth performance and productivity of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) populations

Anna Maria Hebda, Witold Wachowiak, Jerzy Skrzyszewski

Abstract


The phenotypic differentiation of 16 provenances of Scots pine originating from a wide variety of habitats that range from lowland to southern highland locations in Poland was assessed during 47 years of their growth and development in the Carpathian Mountains. The traits, including height, diameter at breast height, stem straightness, and crown width, were used to evaluate the differentiation of the provenances in their juvenile period and at maturity and were examined for patterns of local adaptation. The populations from northern Poland were characterized by the best growth and productivity, whereas provenances from central Poland had the best stem quality. There were some changes in growth between provenances observed during the experiment, but the stand volume (m3/ha) in juvenile trees was closely correlated with that in mature trees (r = 0.979). There was a positive relationship between the productivity and the environmental conditions of the geographical origin of provenances with increasing values for the trees’ productivity from south to north. Additionally, the elevation above sea level of the original populations was inversely correlated with the growth achieved by the progeny. In general, most populations from the species distribution range in Poland tested in the severe climate conditions of the Carpathian Mountains showed good growth performance under that environment, characterized by low temperatures and short growing periods. Provenances from climatic zones outside mountain regions demonstrated great growth and productivity, which proved to be the most important for competitively outperforming the local populations. Our study demonstrates good adaptive potential of the tested provenances, as selection will favor fast-growing genotypes under the predicted environmental change scenario.

Keywords


quantitative traits; quality traits; local adaptation; forest trees

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References


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