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Open AccessArticle

Non-Destructive Assessment of Wood Stiffness in Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and its Use in Forest Tree Improvement

by Irena Fundova 1,2, Tomas Funda 1,3,4 and Harry X. Wu 1,5,6,*
1
Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 90183 Umeå, Sweden
2
Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden), 91821 Sävar, Sweden
3
Department of Genetics and Breeding, Faculty of Agrobiology and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
4
Key Laboratory of Forest Genetics and Biotechnology, Co-Innovation Center for the Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
5
Beijing Advanced Innovation Centre for Tree Breeding by Molecular Design, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
6
CSIRO National Research Collection Australia, Black Mountain Laboratory, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(6), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060491
Received: 25 April 2019 / Revised: 7 June 2019 / Accepted: 7 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
Wood stiffness is an important wood mechanical property that predetermines the suitability of sawn timber for construction purposes. Negative genetic correlations between wood stiffness and growth traits have, however, been reported for many conifer species including Scots pine. It is, therefore, important that breeding programs consider wood stiffness and growth traits simultaneously. The study aims to (1) evaluate different approaches of calculating the dynamic modulus of elasticity (MOE, non-destructively assessed stiffness) using data from X-ray analysis (SilviScan) as a benchmark, (2) estimate genetic parameters, and (3) apply index selection. In total, we non-destructively measured 622 standing trees from 175 full-sib families for acoustic velocity (VEL) using Hitman and for wood density (DEN) using Resistograph and Pilodyn. We combined VEL with different wood densities, raw (DENRES) and adjusted (DENRES.TB) Resistograph density, Pilodyn density measured with (DENPIL) and without bark (DENPIL.B), constant of 1000 kg·m−3 (DENCONST), and SilviScan density (DENSILV), to calculate MOEs and compare them with the benchmark SilviScan MOE (MOESILV). We also derived Smith–Hazel indices for simultaneous improvement of stem diameter (DBH) and wood stiffness. The highest additive genetic and phenotypic correlations of the benchmark MOESILV with the alternative MOE measures (tested) were attained by MOEDENSILV (0.95 and 0.75, respectively) and were closely followed by MOEDENRES.TB (0.91 and 0.70, respectively) and MOEDENCONST and VEL (0.91 and 0.65, respectively for both). Correlations with MOEDENPIL, MOEDENPIL.B, and MOEDENRES were lower. Narrow-sense heritabilities were moderate, ranging from 0.39 (MOESILV) to 0.46 (MOEDENSILV). All indices revealed an opportunity for joint improvement of DBH and MOE. Conclusions: MOEDENRES.TB appears to be the most efficient approach for indirect selection for wood stiffness in Scots pine, although VEL alone and MOEDENCONST have provided very good results too. An index combining DBH and MOEDENRES.TB seems to offer the best compromise for simultaneous improvement of growth, fiber, and wood quality traits. View Full-Text
Keywords: scots pine; stiffness; modulus of elasticity; density; wood quality; heritability; genetic correlation; index selection; improvement scots pine; stiffness; modulus of elasticity; density; wood quality; heritability; genetic correlation; index selection; improvement
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Fundova, I.; Funda, T.; Wu, H.X. Non-Destructive Assessment of Wood Stiffness in Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and its Use in Forest Tree Improvement. Forests 2019, 10, 491.

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