Plasticity of growth and biomass production of an intraspecific Populus alba family grown at three sites across Europe during three growing seasons

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White poplar (Populus alba L.) is a native species in Europe, but its growth potential is largely unknown. The general objectives of our study were to determine the impact of contrasted environments across Europe and the influence of parental characteristics on the growth potential of an intraspecific F1 white poplar family originating from a cross between parents native from the south and the north of Italy. The growth of the family was monitored at three sites located in the north of Italy, in central France, and in the southern United Kingdom. The family showed a highly superior productivity in Italy. A pronounced plasticity among sites was found for the male parent only. Indeed, for this parent, the highest growth was observed in northern Italy, its area of origin. A positive heterosis was observed mainly in France and in the United Kingdom. Broad-sense heritability values were moderate in most cases. However, the growth of the family was in some cases superior to the one of several other interspecific hybrid families growing under the same conditions, underlying the poorly known growth potential of such intraspecific hybrids for biomass production under European conditions.

Le peuplier blanc (Populus alba L.) est une espèce native d’Europe, mais son potentiel de croissance est largement méconnu. Les objectifs généraux de notre étude étaient de déterminer l’impact d’environnements contrastés en Europe ainsi que l’influence des caractéristiques parentales sur le potentiel de croissance d’une famille d’hybrides F1 interspécifiques de peuplier blanc issue d’un croisement contrôlé entre des parents natifs du sud et du nord de l’Italie. La croissance de la famille a été suivie à trois sites situés au nord de l’Italie, au centre de la France et au sud du Royaume-Uni. La famille a montré une croissance nettement supérieure en Italie. Une plasticité prononcée entre sites a été mise en évidence pour le parent mâle uniquement. En effet, pour ce parent, la croissance la plus importante était observée pour le nord de l’Italie, son aire d’origine. Une vigueur hybride (hétérosis) a été observée principalement en France et au Royaume-Uni. L’héritabilité au sens large était modérée dans la plupart des cas. Cependant, la croissance de la famille était, dans certains cas, supérieure à celle de plusieurs autres familles d’hybrides interspécifiques cultivées aux mêmes sites, mettant en évidence le potentiel méconnu des hybrides de peuplier blanc pour la production de biomasse en Europe.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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