, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 21-31

Phenology Differs among Norway Spruce Populations in Relation to Local Variation in Altitude of Maternal Stands in the Beskidy Mountains

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Abstract

An investigation of phenological and growth traits was conducted in a lowland plantation, comprised of 23 Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seed stands from the Istebna region in the Beskidy Mountains of Poland. Significant differences were found among population in growth initiation, growth termination and the length of shoot elongation period. The two latter traits were highly correlated and were attributed to the altitude of the maternal stand. The tested populations were grouped based on phenology. Progeny of lower-alttitude stands ceased growth later, had a longer duration of shoot growth and greater current leader length compared to progeny of higher-altitude stands. Individual populations, however, did not differ in current-year growth and total tree height, implying higher within-population variation in growth traits than in phenology. The similar growth capacity of all tested populations suggests considerable gene flow between maternal stands, although differences in phenology imply the adaptation of progenies to the altitudinal environment of seed origin. These results suggest that within tested populations, selection is possible based on phenology alone, without considerable reduction of early height growth; final decisions, however, should be based on the environmental conditions of the planting site.