The potential for the genetic improvement of sawn timber traits in Picea abies
Can. J. For. Res. 2013, 44(4):273-280
Hogberg KA, Hallingback HR, Sall H, Johansson M, Jansson G

Abstract
This study evaluated the potential for the selective genetic improvement of the structural quality traits important in sawn Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) timber based on early and nondestructively assessed field traits. From a 34-year-old Norway spruce trial situated in southern Sweden, 401 butt logs were sampled and sawn to produce two 50 x 100 mm boards that were dried to an 18% moisture content. Structural quality traits were assessed, and genetic parameters were estimated, including additive genetic variance, heritability, and their genetic correlations with field traits. Board twisting, density, and modulus of elasticity (MOE, stiffness) were found to have appreciable heritabilities (0.23-0.44). Board twist was found to have a strong genetic correlation with grain angle measured under bark in the field (0.93), and both board MOE and density exhibited strong genetic correlations with field-assessed pilodyn penetration (-0.75 and -0.91, respectively). Although these observations were made on a thinning material comprising mainly juvenile wood, they nonetheless suggest grain angle and pilodyn penetration to be promising candidates as selection criteria for Norway spruce breeding. Heritabilities of other sawn timber traits were lower and the genetic correlations between these traits and field traits were also lower, variable, and had large estimation errors.

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