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U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Forest Service Southern Regional Extension Forestry Southern Regional Extension Forestry

Genetics and Conservation of Hemlock Species Threatened by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Throughout the eastern United States populations of eastern (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina (Tsuga caroliniana) hemlock are being decimated by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA, Adelges tsugae). As part of an integrated approach to management of this exotic forest pest, Camcore (Dept. of Forestry & Environmental Resources at N.C. State University) and the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection are cooperating to conduct genetic diversity assessments and establish ex situ conservation reserves for these ecologically important forest species. The overall goal of this cooperative effort is to secure genetically diverse seed reserves and maintain viable populations of eastern and Carolina hemlock in perpetuity so that genetic material will be available for restoration efforts in areas where HWA eliminates these species from the forest. We report general findings from amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and isozyme studies of hemlock genetic diversity and provide an update on the progress of the ex situ conservation efforts in the southern region. Keywords: Ex situ, Gene Conservation, Genetic Diversity, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Adelges tsugae, Eastern hemlock, Tsuga canadensis, Carolina hemlock, Tsuga caroliniana.

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Author(s): Andrew Whittier, Bill Dvorak, Kevin Potter, Robert Jetton, Rusty Rhea

Publication: Tree Improvement and Genetics - Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference - 2009