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Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 12:23 | Cite as

Climate change risk management in tree improvement programs: selection and movement of genotypes

  • Laura K. Gray
  • Andreas Hamann
  • Sally John
  • Deogratias Rweyongeza
  • Leonard Barnhardt
  • Barb R. Thomas
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Breeding

Abstract

Tree improvement programs usually consist of multiple breeding populations that target different climatic or ecological regions. Parent breeding material normally originates from and is deployed within the same breeding region, assuming optimal local adaptation of populations. Given the climate trends observed over the last several decades in western Canada, this assumption is unlikely to still be valid. This problem needs to be addressed either by delineating new deployment areas for improved planting stock or by selecting genotypes suitable for changed climatic environments. In a case study for white spruce, we analyzed height data from 135,000 trees grown in 44 genetic tests established and evaluated over a period of 35 years by industry and government agencies in Alberta. We show how the risk of planting maladapted trees can be minimized by moving planting stock to new areas, or by eliminating genotypes from breeding programs that are sensitive to anticipated future climate environments. Transfers that outperformed local sources consistently originated from locations with higher temperatures, suggesting north or northwest transfers. However, adaptation to cold appears to be a prevalent driver for genetic population differentiation in spruce, thus limiting how far material may be moved in current reforestation efforts to address future climate change.

Keywords

Reforestation Climate change White spruce Seed transfer Breeding programs 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This analysis includes data from every white spruce tree improvement region in Alberta and would not have been possible without participation and data sharing by Alberta Newsprint Company, Canadian Forest Products Ltd., Manning Diversified Forest Products, Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Northlands Forest Products, Timber Ltd., Tolko Industries Ltd., West Fraser Mills Ltd. (including its divisions: Hinton Wood Products and Blue Ridge Lumber), Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. (Grande Prairie and Pembina Timberlands), and the provincial ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (AAF). Funding was provided by the Tree Species Adaptation Risk Management project, managed by Tree Improvement Alberta (TIA) and funded by Climate Change and Emissions Management (CCEMC) Corporation and AAF (formerly Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development). We would like thank Daniel Chicoine from Incremental Forest Technology Ltd. for his contribution as the CCEMC project Manager. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the commitment and tireless effort and support of Bruce Macmillan, who was instrumental in helping to secure the CCEMC project funding and ensuring the success of this work.

Data accessibility

Data from genetic field trials were provided by private companies and government agencies (see Acknowledgements), and so are not owned by the authors and thus not available in the archive.

Supplementary material

11295_2016_983_MOESM1_ESM.csv (104 kb)
Table S1 Best linear unbiased estimates (BLUEs) with their standard errors (SE) of performance of families and provenances (AccessionID) when tested in their region and when transferred to other breeding regions in Alberta (TestREGION). BLUEs and their standard errors are normalized by the mean of all accessions planted in their home breeding region set to zero and a standard deviation of one, so that the performance of each accession is expressed in percentage above or below the performance of local sources. (CSV 103 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Isabella Point Forestry Ltd.Salt Spring IslandCanada
  3. 3.Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Forest Management BranchEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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