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Forests 2013, 4(3), 575-594; doi:10.3390/f4030575
Article

Genetic Improvement of White Spruce Mechanical Wood Traits—Early Screening by Means of Acoustic Velocity

1,2
, 3
, 3
, 2
 and 1,*
1 Center for Forest Research, Department for Wood Science and Forestry, Laval University, 1030 avenue de la Médecine, Quebec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada 2 Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 1055 du P.E.P.S., P.O. Box 10380, Stn. Sainte-Foy, Quebec City, QC G1V 4C7, Canada 3 Center for Research on Renewable Materials, Department for Wood Science and Forestry, Laval University, 2425 rue de la Terrasse, Quebec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 May 2013 / Revised: 25 June 2013 / Accepted: 27 June 2013 / Published: 10 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving Wood Quality from Planted Forests)
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Abstract

There is a growing interest to use acoustic sensors for selection in tree breeding to ensure high wood quality of future plantations. In this study, we assessed acoustic velocity as a selection trait for the improvement of mechanical wood properties in two 15- and 32-year-old white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench.] Voss) genetic tests. Individual heritability of acoustic velocity was moderate and of the same magnitude as heritability of wood density. Considerable genetic gain could be expected for acoustic velocity and a measure combining velocity and wood density. The relationship between acoustic velocity and cellulose microfibril angle (MFA) was strong on the genetic level and selection based on velocity could effectively improve MFA, which is one of the most important determinants of wood mechanical properties. Although low, the positive relationship between acoustic velocity and tree height presents an interesting opportunity for the improvement of both tree growth and wood quality. On the phenotypic level, MFA was more strongly correlated to acoustic velocity in mature trees than in young trees. The addition of easily obtainable traits such as diameter at breast height (DBH), height-to-diameter ratio as well as wood density to velocity determinations could improve models of MFA at the young and the mature age. We conclude that juvenile acoustic velocity is an appropriate trait to select for wood quality in a tree breeding context.
Keywords: acoustic velocity; tree breeding; white spruce; wood quality; selection efficiency; ST300 acoustic velocity; tree breeding; white spruce; wood quality; selection efficiency; ST300
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lenz, P.; Auty, D.; Achim, A.; Beaulieu, J.; Mackay, J. Genetic Improvement of White Spruce Mechanical Wood Traits—Early Screening by Means of Acoustic Velocity. Forests 2013, 4, 575-594.

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