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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Genetic parameters of stem and wood traits in full-sib silver birch families

Jones, Grace; Liziniewicz, Mateusz; Adamopoulos, Stergios; Lindeberg, Johan


This study investigated heritability of stem and wood traits to improve Swedish silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) through breeding. Birch is 12% of Sweden's forest area but mainly used for low value pulp or firewood. This paper applied non-destructive test (NDT) methods, and estimated traits' heritability (h(2)), to help breed birch for high value solid wood products. Two trials of 22 families were assessed at age 19 for stem diameter (DBH), stem straightness, rough brown bark height (BH), grain angle (GA), Pilodyn penetration depth (Pilo) and acoustic velocity (AV). X-ray densitometry was performed on a subsample of radial cores taken at 1.3 m from the ground to get an average benchmark density. The h(2) values were moderate for GA (0.20 and 0.21) and Pilo (0.53 and 0.48) at the two sites, but the h(2) values for AV were low (0.05 and 0.30). There were moderate genotypic correlations between BH and DBH (0.51-0.54). There were low genotypic and phenotypic correlations between NDT measurements and other traits so including NDT in birch breeding efforts should not inadvertently reduce size, stem or wood quality. The high genetic correlations between sites suggest that GA, Pilo and AV values were determined more by genotype than by environment.


acoustic velocity; Betula pendula Roth; grain angle; heritability; non-destructive testing; Pilodyn; stem quality

Published in

2021, volume: 12, number: 2, article number: 159

Authors' information

Jones, Grace
Linnaeus University
Liziniewicz, Mateusz
Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Skogforsk
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology
Lindeberg, Johan
Linnaeus University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

UKÄ Subject classification

Wood Science
Forest Science

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