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Genetic analysis of Eucalyptus globulus diameter, straightness, branch size, and forking in Western Australia

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Eucalyptus globulus Labill. is increasingly considered for supply of solid-wood products such as sawlogs, yet genetic studies of solid-wood traits have been lacking. We estimated genetic parameters of growth and form traits that affect log value in full-sib families from two advanced-generation breeding populations on eight sites in Western Australia. Mean single-site heritability was 0.11 ± 0.01 for diameter at breast height (DBH), 0.28 ± 0.05 for stem straightness, 0.09 ± 0.02 for branch thickness, and 0.05 ± 0.02 for forking incidence. Dominance effects were significant (p < 0.05) at four sites for DBH and branch thickness and at three sites (one population) for straightness. Mean intersite additive genetic correlations were 0.76 ± 0.06 for DBH (n = 7), 0.75 ± 0.11 for stem straightness (n = 7), and 0.58 ± 0.07 for branch thickness (n = 4). Mean intersite dominance genetic correlations were 0.90 ± 0.04 for DBH (n = 7), 0.26 ± 0.27 (n = 4) for straightness, and 0.68 ± 0.11 for branch thickness (n = 3). Additive genetic correlations between DBH and straightness ranged from –0.71 ± 0.23 to 0.33 ± 0.19 with an average of –0.18 ± 0.12 (n = 8). Genetic correlations between DBH and branch thickness were mostly weak although straightness was generally associated with thinner branches (mean additive correlation 0.44 ± 0.15, n = 6). We conclude that prospects appear favourable for improving the solid-wood value of E. globulus by selection and breeding.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, The University of Melbourne, Water Street, Creswick 3363, Australia. 2: Elders Forestry Limited, P.O. Box 1421, Albany WA 6331, Australia.

Publication date: June 26, 2011

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