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Doctoral thesis, 2002

Life history traits and broadleaved tree genetics

Baliuckas, Virgilijus


Most broadleaved tree species play a minor role in Scandinavian and Baltic forestry, therefore little information on metric trait variation exists so far. The Forestry Convention signed by many European countries requires that gene conservation programs have to be developed for broadleaved tree species. Studies of within- and among-population genetic variation are of great importance for gene conservation strategy and the design of gene conservation and long-term breeding programmes.
Our hypothesis is that life history traits influence the among- and within-population genetic variation. Three experiments, with different sets of species included in each, were conducted in Sweden. We have selected populations of Quercus robur, Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus excelsior, Acer platanoides, Primus avium, Prunus padus, Sorbus aucuparia and Alnus glutinosa from across their range of distribution in Sweden. A complementary study of progenies of Lithuanian Quercus robur populations was done in a Lithuanian experiment. Open pollinated families were studied in all experiments, covering ages 2-6. Except for bud flushing, there was no clear evidence for increased within-population variation for climax compared to pioneer species in the traits studied. Substantial gene flow may occur even in intermediate and insect pollinated species. The largest within-population variation estimates, regardless of species, occurred for bud flushing.
A strong parent-offspring relationship was revealed for bud flushing in Quercus robur, which indicates the presence of assortative mating in the populations. In addition, strong and stable genetic correlations across years in all species suggest high juvenile-mature correlations for this trait. The genetic parameters of populations from our experiments showed that northern and southern populations are equally good for gene conservation purposes.


adaptive traits; gene conservation; genetic variation; juvenile age; open pollinated families; populations

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Silvestria
2002, number: 258
eISBN: 91-576-6342-4
Publisher: Department of Forest Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Baliuckas, Virgilijus
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

URI (permanent link to this page)