Genetic variation amongst and within the native provenances of Pinus radiata D. don in South-eastern Australia: wood density and stiffness to age 26 years

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Raymond, CA, Henson, M & Joe, B 2009, 'Genetic variation amongst and within the native provenances of Pinus radiata D. don in South-eastern Australia: wood density and stiffness to age 26 years', Silvae Genetica, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 192-204.

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Two progeny trials of native provenances of Pinus radiata, representing the 1978 seed collection, were assessed for wood density and standing tree acoustic velocity. One trial, planted in 1980 in southern New South Wales, Australia contains all five provenances. The second trial, planted in the same region in 1982 contains only the island provenances. Results for extracted wood density, assessed from pith to bark in 5 ring segments, and standing tree acoustic velocity, measured at age 24 or 26 years, are reported.

Large differences between the mainland and island provenance were apparent for wood density and stiffness. The mainland provenances were very similar for density and followed the “normal” pattern of change with a gradual increase from the pith, followed by a plateauing around age 20. Neither of the island provenances followed this pattern of change in density: Cedros had stable density across the 4 inner most segments and Guadalupe had stable density for the inner two segments followed by a linear increase. Juvenile density was higher in both the island provenances than the mainland provenances. The island provenances differed from each other for standing tree acoustic velocity, with velocity being higher in Guadalupe provenance.

Heritabilities for wood density and acoustic velocity (average 0.37) were higher than those for tree growth and form. Across the stem radius, heritability of density was variable with some segments having zero heritabilities in some provenances, particularly Cambria, Cedros and Guadalupe. Heritability for acoustic velocity was highest for Cambria and the island provenances. Within the mainland provenances, little difference was found between populations for either wood density or acoustic velocity. Density and standing tree acoustic velocity were negatively genetically correlated with tree diameter.

Differences in provenance means were greater for acoustic velocity than for density in the outermost segment. Provenance rankings also differed, with the rankings for acoustic velocity being similar to those for density in the 2nd segment from the bark. The genetic correlations between density and velocity reached a maximum for 3rd segment. These results indicate that outerwood density is not the sole driver of acoustic velocity, and that the sound wave is perhaps not travelling through the outer most wood, but is penetrating some distance into the tree.

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