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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Phenotypic plasticity in Populus trichocarpa clones across environments in the Nordic-Baltic region

Ronnberg-Wastljung, Ann Christin; Adler, Anneli; Karacic, Almir; Liepins, Kaspars; Richards, Thomas J.; Ingvarsson, Par K.; Weih, Martin


Transition towards a bio-based society requires large amounts of woody biomass to be converted into biofuels and biomaterials. Populus species are good candidates for growth in short rotations, but there is a lack of climate-adapted plant material suitable for growth at the high latitudes of the Nordic-Baltic region. Here we studied the growth and phenology traits in 63 Populus trichocarpa clones earlier preliminary selected for growth at northern latitudes, in three different field sites; i.e. in central Sweden, eastern and western Latvia. The material showed moderate broad sense heritabilities, with high values for phenology traits, indicating opportunities for selection. Genotype x environment (g x e) interaction was identified for all traits, but the phenotypic correlation between pairs of sites provided more detailed information indicating the strength of the g x e interaction. The between-clone variation in plasticity was high, and we identified some clones showing a high and stable performance across the three sites. These clones are of particular interest for the commercial deployment and future breeding of Populus material for the Nordic-Baltic region.


Phenotypic plasticity; stability; genotype x environment interaction; heritability; plant breeding

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2022, Volume: 37, number: 1, pages: 1-5