Home Publications Tree Improvement and Genetics Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference 31st Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference (2011) Genetic diversity, physiologic expression, and carbon dynamics in longleaf pine at the Harrison Experimental Forest

Genetic diversity, physiologic expression, and carbon dynamics in longleaf pine at the Harrison Experimental Forest

In 1960, an experiment was established on the Harrison Experimental Forest in southeast Mississippi to compare productivity of planted longleaf, loblolly and slash pines of local origin (Smith and Schmidlting 1970). Longleaf pine lagged in productivity during the early years, but eventually surpassed loblolly and slash pine. Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) left the experiment heavily damaged; especially the loblolly pine plots. Recently region-wide interest in restoring longleaf pine has developed, with an important goal being to increase forest resilience to climate change and extreme climate events. Little is known about the value and variability of adaptive traits in longleaf pine. Our goal is to better understand genetic control of these traits (survival, disease resistance, productivity) as expressed on a hurricane prone longleaf pine site characterized by relatively low soil fertility. This new installation will allow a direct comparison of longleaf pine families originating from four seed sources (ranging from southeast Texas to north Alabama) under three planting densities. Physiologic differences between and within the sources will be analyzed along with differences in height, diameter, stem taper and carbon allocation to specific components (foliage, branches, stems, roots) across the planting density gradient. Allelic states of several genes will be related to survival and performance traits. This experiment will inform development of genetic guidelines for restoring resilient longleaf pine ecosystems.


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Author(s): C. Dana Nelson, John R. Butnor, Kurt H. Johnsen

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