Gene conservation and breeding programmes for Picea abies in Lithuania: present-day achievements
Treść / Zawartość
At present, Norway spruce stands occupy 22% of the total forest area in Lithuania. Most of them are located in the northeastern highland (Žemaitija) and the central part of the country. 25% of the spruce-dominated stands are pure, the rest are mixed. Natural calamities like storms, droughts, and pests cause substantial damage and occur quite frequently. About 40 thousand ha of stands are cut after each storm. The mean wood yield of the spruce stands is 304 m3 ha-1, and the current annual increment is 6.2 m3 ha-1. The climatic conditions of Lithuania are variable enough to cause differentiation of habitats. For Norway spruce, 6 provenance regions have been established. The national gene conservation programme is based on (a) in situ genetic reserves, seed collection stands, and selected genotypes, and (b) ex situ clonal archives, seed orchards, experimental plantations, and gene bank collections. The present-day breeding of Norway spruce comprises family tests of populations for individual and population selection, and plans for inter-population hybrids. A strategy for Norway spruce breeding has been approved for the years 2004-2013. There is a genetically diverse material for future breeding: long-distance provenance tests, and population and family tests. Assessments of two provenance tests (aged 9 and 17 years) in central Lithuania revealed superior performance of central and northeastern Polish provenances: superior height, good stem quality, and late bud-burst in spring. This may be attributed to the favourable effect of transfer: avoidance of spring frosts (late bud-burst and good stem quality), and utilisation of the later part of the growing period for growth (late bud-set and superior height). Norway spruce is a climax species with different domestic and Darwinian fitness. Therefore, we suggest that the domestic fitness of local genotypes may be improved by introducing a few Polish clones in Lithuanian breeding populations.
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