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Genetic Control of Growth Traits in Shortleaf Pine in Missouri

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Genetic parameters for height (HT), diameter (diameter at breast height [dbh]), and volume for a shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata Mill.) population in Missouri were estimated from a single progeny test comprising 44 half-sibling families assessed at 3, 5, 7, 10, and 17 years. Individual tree heritability estimates for growth traits at age 10 years and younger were high (0.30–0.43), and those at age 17 years were low (0.11–0.24). Heritability estimates for dbh were lower than those for HT. Family mean heritability estimates were moderate to high (0.32–0.66). Genetic correlations were higher than their phenotypic counterparts for all growth traits. Age-age genetic correlations for growth traits were moderate to high (0.68–0.98), indicating opportunity for early selection. Genetic correlations between different growth traits were high (0.81–1.00). Indirect selection on age 5- or 7-year HTs may be expected to produce over 25% more volume at 17 years compared with direct selection for volume at age 17 years. Efficiencies of selection suggest that early HT is a better selection criterion for volume at older ages than dbh because of the high heritability at young ages and strong juvenile-mature genetic correlations. Genetic gain in an unrogued seed orchard was predicted to be 6.7 and 27.2% for 10- and 17-year volume, respectively. These results suggest that growth traits in shortleaf pine in Missouri have high genetic variation, and genetic improvement was effective. South. J. Appl. For. 29(4):200–204.
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Keywords: Heritability; Pinus echinata Mill; efficiency of early selection; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; genetic correlation; genetic gain; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Missouri Department of Conservation Columbia MO 65201 Phone: (573) 882-9909;, Fax: (573) 882-4517, Email: [email protected] 2: Mark Twain National Forest Rolla MO 65401 3: University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry New Franklin MO 65274

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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