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Doctoral thesis, 2000

Early testing of adaptedness to temperature and water availability in Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies

Sonesson, Johan


Long-term climate changes have been evident in the past. In the future an increase in the rate of climate change is predicted owing to man-made emissions. Studies of adaptedness to different climatic conditions are of great importance for the design of appropriate breeding and gene conservation programmes. This thesis presents studies of adaptedness to temperature and water availability in Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies and explores the possibilities of utilising differences in adaptedness to obtain juvenile-mature (J-M) correlations strong enough for efficient early testing.
Offspring from clones in two Swedish Pinus sylvestris seed orchards and one Picea abies seed orchard were grown in growth chambers for one and two growth periods respectively. Two temperature regimes and two irrigation regimes were applied in a factorial design.
Both species expressed high phenotypic plasticity and additive variance for height growth and biomass traits. This implies that these populations should be able to adapt both to short-term and to long-term climate changes. Genotype by environment (GxE) interaction indicated strong differences in adaptedness to temperature and lower differences in adaptedness to water availability. Parent rank changes between treatments indicated that climate change could seriously alter the ranking of clones in breeding populations and thus decrease the genetic gain obtained in previous selections. Differences in stability among parents suggested that culling of unstable genotypes could be a way to reduce the negative effects of GxE interaction.
​​​​​​​Genetic correlations between growth chamber and 14-30 year old field progeny trials with the same parents were mainly weak for both species. The correlations were improved by the drought treatment in the Picea abies experiment suggesting that further development of early testing methods for this species should include treatments with limiting water availability.


climate change; drought; early growth; GxE interaction; juvenile-mature correlation; Norway spruce; Scots pine

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Silvestria
2000, number: 163
ISBN: 91-576-5897-8
Publisher: Department of Forest Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Sonesson, Johan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

URI (permanent link to this page)