Fries A, Ericsson T
Genetic parameters for earlywood and latewood densities and development with increasing age in Scots pine
Annals of Forest Science: 2009 66:404

  • Each annual ring in pines consists of earlywood and latewood with considerable difference in density and width. To get a better determination of the genetic regulation of total wood density in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), density and width of those ring sections were measured in annual ring numbers 12 to 21 of Scots pines in a full-sib progeny test. Tree height and stem diameter were also measured.
  • Heritabilities for the annual ring sections increased with age for earlywood density from 0.08 to approximately 0.25; latewood density showed similar reductions. Heritability over all 10 annual rings was 0.25 for earlywood density, 0.22 for latewood density, 0.29 for height and 0.10 for stem diameter. Genetic correlations between earlywood and latewood density and growth traits were negative, while they were strongly positive between densities of adjacent annual rings (0.70–1.0).
  • Despite the higher heritability of earlywood density, the strong positive genetic correlation between those traits indicates little benefit from focusing solely on earlywood density when selecting for wood density. Analysing earlywood and latewood separately does not benefit from including the width of the corresponding ring section as a covariate. Juvenile wood may possibly turn into mature wood 15–20 y from the pith.

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