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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Variation of growth and phenology traits in poplars planted in clonal trials in Northern Europe-implications for breeding

Adler, Anneli; Karacic, Almir; Wastljung, Ann-Christin Ronnberg; Johansson, Ulf; Liepins, Kaspars; Gradeckas, Audrius; Christersson, Lars

Abstract

The increased demand for wood to replace oil-based products with renewable products has lifted focus to the Baltic Sea region where the environment is favorable for woody biomass growth. The aim of this study was to estimate broad-sense heritabilities and genotype-by-environment (GxE) interactions in growth and phenology traits in six climatically different regions in Sweden and the Baltics. We tested the hypothesis that both bud burst and bud set have a significant effect on the early growth of selected poplar clones in Northern Europe. Provenance hybrids of Populus trichocarpa adapted to the Northern European climate were compared to reference clones with adaptation to the Central European climate. The volume index of stemwood was under low to medium genetic control with heritabilities from 0.22 to 0.75. Heritabilities for phenology traits varied between 0.31 and 0.91. Locally chosen elite clones were identified. GxE interactions were analyzed using pairwise comparisons of the trials. Three different breeding zones for poplars between the latitudes of 55 degrees N and 60 degrees N in the Baltic Sea Region were outlined. The studied provenance hybrids with origin from North America offer a great possibility to broaden the area with commercial poplar plantations in Northern Europe and further improve the collection of commercial clones to match local climates. We conclude that phenology is an important selection criterion after growth.

Keywords

Provenance hybrids; Populus; trichocarpa; Sweden; Baltic countries; Volume index; Quantitative genetics; Heritability

Published in

BioEnergy Research
2021, Volume: 14, number: 2, pages: 426-444 Publisher: SPRINGER