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Research article2008Peer reviewed

Mini-seedlings of Picea abies are less attacked by Hylobius abietis than conventional ones: Is plant chemistry the explanation?

Danielsson, Marie; Kannaste, Astrid; Lindstrom, Anders; Hellqvist, Claes; Stattin, Eva; Langstrom, Bo; Borg-Karlson, Anna-Karin


The pine weevil, Hylobius abietis (L.), is a major pest in conifer reforestation areas in the Palaearctic region. Size and chemistry of the seedlings may explain the damage rates in plantations. The performance of 10-week containerized seedlings (mini-seedlings) was compared with 1-year-old conventional seedlings of Norway spruce, Picea abies (L.), in a field experiment in central Sweden. After 2 years the weevil damage was lower for the mini-seedlings than for the conventional seedlings (3.5 vs 55%). After 3 years, the overall survival was 82 and 75%, respectively. Weevil damage was the main cause of mortality for conventional seedlings, whereas mini-seedlings mainly died from drought. Volatiles of the two seedling types were compared by solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatography -mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS). Unwounded mini-seedlings and conventional seedlings differed in their compositions of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Miniseedlings mainly emitted limonene, known to be repellent to the pine weevil. When wounded, green leaf volatiles were released by mini-seedlings while the pine weevil attractant alpha-pinene was released by conventional seedlings. Volatiles may partly explain the mini-seedlings' resistance against weevil attack. Further studies are needed to clarify how long this miniseedling effect remains.


green leaf volatiles; growth; Hylobius abietis; Picea abies; seedling size; survival; terpenes; weevil damage

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2008, Volume: 23, number: 4, pages: 299-306

      SLU Authors

    • Hellqvist, Claes

      • Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Långström, Bo

        • Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      Sustainable Development Goals

      Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Forest Science

      Publication identifier


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