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Variation in Stem Taper and Growth Traits in a Clonal Trial of Loblolly Pine

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As volume is the primary measure of value in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) stands, knowledge about the stem taper of commonly deployed clones may better describe genetic gains made by each clonal variety and could provide more accurate volume estimates. Clonal varieties with combined low taper and fast growth can potentially offer great gains in uniformity, quality, and volume when deployed operationally. Clones propagated via somatic embryogenesis from 13 full-sib families and two open-pollinated families were measured in the eighth growing season across three sites in coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Three form quotients were used to analyze stem taper differences among clones and to assess taper impacts on total stem volume. Significant clonal variation was found for form quotients, indicating that genetic differences exist in stem taper among different clones. Clone mean heritability estimates for form quotients and growth traits were moderate to high (0.64‐0.94), indicating that the use of form quotients could improve selection by accounting for taper in clones. However, taper impacts on total volume were minimal after accounting for dbh and total height, and differences among clones in total volume were sufficiently captured using a single combined-variable D 2 H equation. While selecting clones by total height and dbh may not necessarily capture clones with the least taper, this method was sufficient for selecting varieties with the largest volumes.
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Keywords: form quotients; genetic gain; somatic embryogenesis; volume

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-02-08

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  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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