Conservation Genetics

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 415–426 | Cite as

Simulations of clonal species genotypic diversity – trembling aspen (Populus tremuloïdes) as a case study

  • Marie-Claire Namroud
  • Alain Leduc
  • Francine Tremblay
  • Yves Bergeron


We built two models to follow clonal species genotypic diversity (G/N) over long periods of time at the stand and landscape levels. The models were then validated with empirical data from trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) populations in Quebec’s boreal forest. Data was collected using a chronosequence approach in seven sites that burned in 1717, 1760, 1797, 1823, 1847, 1944, and 1916. Genetic identification was done by using four microsatellite loci. At the stand scale, simulations were repeated for a genet size of 5, 25, 50 and 100 ramets each. At the landscape level, we simulated the cumulative genet survival rate under different fire cycles (5–500 years) for 500 years after fire. Stand simulations indicated that ramet mortality within genets rather than genet mortality accounts for the increase in G/N with time since fire. Both the initial genet size and the recurrent suckering of some genets (or ramet recruitment) play an important role in maintaining high G/N levels for long periods of time. In general, the larger the number of ramets per genet, the longer the genet survives under a gap disturbance regime and a minimum of 100 ramets per genet is required to maintain aspen genet survival for 500 years. At the landscape level, genet loss increases as the fire cycle gets longer. In Quebec’s boreal forest, short rotation even-aged management practices seem to maintain a genet survival rate similar to that produced by the natural succession regime.

Key words

aspen clonal diversity even-aged management fire cycle time since fire 


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We thank G. Souzede for his help in the fieldwork, D. Charron for dendrochronological work, K.␣Naydenov and J.F. Bouffard for their help in DNA analysis. This study was funded by a doctoral scholarship to M.C.N. (On-the-Job Research Scholarships) provided by the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies and Nexfor-Norbord Industries Inc. Other financial support was provided by the NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Chair in sustainable forest management and by a NSERC grant to F.T.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie-Claire Namroud
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alain Leduc
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francine Tremblay
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yves Bergeron
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Chaire AFDUniversité du Québec en Abitibi-TémiscamingueRouyn-NorandaCanada
  2. 2.GREFI, Biological Sciences DepartmentUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada

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