, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 19-30

Adaptive anatomy of Pinus halepensis trees from different Mediterranean environments in Spain

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Abstract

A study was conducted on the variation in growth, biomass, juvenile wood anatomy, and needle morphology of Pinus halepensis Mill. from three Spanish regions of provenance characterized by environmental differences, without the influence of the site factor. Seeds collected from two progenies in each region were planted in a single plot, and the trees were felled at the age of 7 years. The results showed significant differences between provenances, as well as the genetic or environmental influence on the traits analyzed. Trees adapted to moderate summer drought conditions (Inland Catalonia region) are primarily characterized by higher average values for height, diameter, biomass, cell wall thickness, inter-tracheid wall strength, pit membrane diameter, torus diameter, bordered pit aperture diameter, and ray tracheid abundance in comparison with trees adapted to severe summer drought conditions (Southern region and Balearic Islands region). The greater structural requirements of trees from the Inland Catalonia region, subjected to higher weight and wind loads, resulted in thick cell walls. Moreover, the large pits and more abundant ray tracheids in trees from this provenance would allow more efficient water transport and greater water storage capacity, respectively. The differences found between provenances suggest the adaptive nature of the anatomy of this species, which demonstrates the importance of the region of provenance when choosing reproduction material for reforestation.

L. G. Esteban and J. A. Martín contributed equally to this work.
Communicated by H. Cochard.