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Review article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Trade-offs and Trait Integration in Tree Phenotypes: Consequences for the Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources

Climent, Jose; Alia, Ricardo; Karkkainen, Katri; Bastien, Catherine; Benito-Garzon, Marta; Bouffier, Laurent; De Dato, Giovanbattista; Delzon, Sylvain; Dowkiw, Arnaud; Elvira-Recuenco, Margarita; Grivet, Delphine; Gonzalez-Martinez, Santiago C.; Hayatgheibi, Haleh; Kujala, Sonja; Leple, Jean-Charles; Martin-Sanz, Ruth C.; de Miguel, Marina; Monteverdi, M. Cristina; Mutke, Sven; Plomion, Christophe;
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Purpose of ReviewIn this review, we synthesise current knowledge on trade-offs among traits in key fitness dimensions and identify major research gaps with the intention of laying the groundwork for a rapid advance in tree breeding for multiple objectives as a key contribution to the sustainability of planted forests in the future.Recent FindingsTrade-offs among growth, reproduction, defence, stress tolerance and product quality predicted theoretically have been reported experimentally in many breeding programmes. Among these trade-offs, the genetic linkage between resistance against biotic threats and growth (or other relevant traits) is particularly critical for the current and future management of forest genetic resources. Maintaining tree growth and wood quality in the novel environments of the future requires the assessment of genetic correlations of target traits with phenology, closely linked to survival to temperature extremes. Improving our current knowledge on the genetic trade-offs of drought tolerance as a breeding objective in forest trees obligates a more precise definition of both the specific traits and the experimental conditions. Published evidence suggests that common target traits in breeding programmes may trade-off with reproductive success and fire-adaptation, and the simultaneous improvement of growth and wood quality traits still remains as a constraint in traditional tree breeding.SummaryChanging environments combined with pests and diseases are challenging plantation forestry worldwide, which implies an urgent need to develop new improvement strategies to build the resilience of forestry for our future environments. It is essential to have a better understanding of how traits interact, especially those important for production, climate and biotic threat resilience, but much of the information is still missing. Since many key trade-offs are affected by the environment, we need new studies under novel environments to forecast levels of multi-trait integration in breeding populations.


Trade-offs; Phenotypic integration; Breeding; Forest trees; Resilience; Global change

Published in

Current Forestry Reports
2024, Volume: 10, number: 3, pages: 196–222