End: sep 2022
Start: jan 2018
The goal of B4EST is to increase forest survival, health, resilience and productivity under climate change and naturaldisturbances, while maintaining genetic diversity and key ecological functions, and fostering a competitive EU biobasedeconomy.
|Start - end date
|01.01.2018 - 30.09.2022
|Division of Forest and Forest Resources
|Forest Genetics and Regeneration
B4EST will provide forest tree breeders, forest managers and owners, and policy makers with:
1) better scientificknowledge on adaptation profiles and sustainable productivity, and added value of raw materials in importantEuropean tree species for forestry,
2) new and flexible adaptive tree breeding strategies,
3) tree genotypes of highlyadaptive and economical value,
4) decision-support tools for the choice and use of Forest Reproductive Material(FRM) while balancing production, resilience and genetic diversity, including case studies developed with industrialpartners,
5) integrative performance models to guide FRM deployment at stand and landscape level,
6) economicanalyses of risks/benefits/costs, and
7) policy recommendations.
B4EST will capitalise on the resources developed by past and current EU projects to produce -together with treebreeders, forest managers and owners, and the industry- operational solutions to better adapt forests to climate changeand reinforce the competitiveness of the EU forest-based sector.
To cover the geographical, economic and societal needs of forestry in the EU, B4EST will work with 8 (six native,two non-native) conifers and broadleaves with advanced breeding programmes (Norway spruce, Scots pine, maritimepine, poplars, Douglas-fir, eucalypts) or that are case studies of pest-threatened forests (ash) or valuable non-woodproducts (stone pine).
Our approach will result in a high degree of data and knowledge integration, involving multiple and new targettraits and their trade-offs; genomic information; temporal and spatial assessments in a wide range of environments;stakeholder demands; and forest owner and manager risk perception and acceptability of new breeding strategies.
Publications in the project
The complete diallel cross is the only mating design that provides estimates of variance components of general combining (GCA), specific combining ability (SCA), maternal and reciprocal effects, in addition to heritabilities and genetic correlations. To obtain such estimates, complete diallels were made among 10 trees in each of three natural Norway spruce populations from altitude 300 and 500 m in Norway. Nursery trials were performed with the families from these crosses and families from seeds collected from open pollination. Traits measured and analysed are seed weight, germination rate, germination percentage, terminal bud set, and seedling heights the first and second years. The seedlings from the population at origin 500 m had lower seed weight, lower heights and earlier bud set than those from the two populations from lower altitude. A considerable variation was present among families within each diallel, and the GCA variance components had the highest values and were significant for most traits. Variance components for SCA and maternal effects were also significant for some traits, but with inconsistent values in the three diallels. A strong relationship was present between the weight of the seed lots from the maternal parent and mean family height after one and two growing seasons. The highest estimate of heritability was observed for bud set, with similar values in all three diallels.
The complete diallel cross is the only mating design that provides estimates of variance components of general combining (GCA), specific combining ability (SCA), maternal and reciprocal effects, in addition to heritabilities and genetic correlations. To obtain such estimates, complete diallels were made among 10 trees in each of three natural Norway spruce populations from altitude 300 and 500 m in southern Norway. Seedlings from families from the diallels and open pollinations were tested in short-term tests on agricultural soil at one site at altitude 85 m until age 10 years from seed. Tree height at ages 7 and 10 years and diameter at age 10 had strongly significant GCA variance components within each population. The components for SCA and maternal effects were small and not significant, indicating low levels of non-additive genetic variation. For the days of initiation and cessation of the shoot elongation period the GCA components were dominating and had the highest heritability estimates in two of the diallels. Estimates of genetic correlations between traits measured in earlier nursery trials and height and diameter in the short-term trials had low and not consistent values in the three diallels. The duration of the shoot growth period and rate of growth showed positive relationships with height and diameter. Strong relationships were present between half-sib family means from the diallels and open-pollinated families for height, diameter and phenology traits. Progeny trials testing open-pollinated half-sib families from natural populations can be used for selection of candidates for the initial breeding populations.
Norway spruce is a major industrial tree species in Fennoscandia and future productivity of the species must be secured by matching the variation in adaptation of the species with suitable sites for optimized performance. An appropriate transfer model for forest reproductive material (FRM) is crucial for regeneration of productive forests in the changing climatic conditions that are predicted to occur in Fennoscandia. We have developed a transfer model for prediction of height of Norway spruce in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, using data acquired from 438 progeny and provenance trials with 1919 genetic entries of local and transferred origins. Transfer of genetic material at a given site was expressed in terms of the difference in daylength (photoperiod) between the site and its origin. This variable best reflected the nonlinear response to transfer that has been commonly reported in previous studies. Apart from the transfer variable, the height prediction model included the age of material when height measurements were acquired, annual temperature sum over 5 °C, precipitation during the vegetation period, and interaction terms between test site and transfer variables. The results show that long northward transfers (4-5° latitude) seem to be optimal for relatively mild sites in southern parts of the countries where growing season is longer, and shorter northward transfers (2-4° latitude) for harsher northern sites with shorter growing seasons. The transfer model also predicts that southward transfers of Norway spruce would result in height growth reductions. The developed model provides foundations for development of common or national recommendations for genetically improving Norway spruce material in Fennoscandia.