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Article

Genetic Variation in Water-Use Efficiency (WUE) and Growth in Mature Longleaf Pine

1
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8008, USA
2
USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 1577 Brevard Road, Asheville, NC 28806, USA
3
USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 23332 Success Road, Saucier, MS 39574, USA
4
USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 730 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(11), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110727
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 17 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Longleaf Pine)
The genetic and physiological quality of seedlings is a critical component for longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) restoration, because planting genetic material that is adapted to environmental stress is required for long-term restoration success. Planting trees that exhibit high water-use efficiency (WUE) is a practice that could maximize this species’ survival and growth in a changing climate. Our study evaluates genetic variation in WUE and growth, as well as WUE-growth relationships, a key step to determine potential for breeding and planting trees with high WUE. We measured carbon isotope discrimination (∆)—a proxy for WUE—in 106 longleaf pine increment cores extracted from trees belonging to nine full-sib families. Tree diameter and total tree height were also measured at ages 7, 17, 30 and 40 years. Each increment core was divided into segments corresponding to ages 7–17, 18–30 and 31–40, representing early, intermediate and mature growth of the trees. We identified significant genetic variation in DBH and WUE among families that merit further exploration for identifying trees that can potentially withstand drought stress. Mean family growth rates were not associated with mean family values for carbon isotope discrimination. Family variation in both diameter growth and WUE but no relationship between family values for these traits, suggests it is possible to improve longleaf pines in both diameter growth and WUE through appropriate breeding. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pinus palustris; carbon isotope discrimination; family variation; climate change; reforestation Pinus palustris; carbon isotope discrimination; family variation; climate change; reforestation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Castillo, A.C.; Goldfarb, B.; Johnsen, K.H.; Roberds, J.H.; Nelson, C.D. Genetic Variation in Water-Use Efficiency (WUE) and Growth in Mature Longleaf Pine. Forests 2018, 9, 727. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110727

AMA Style

Castillo AC, Goldfarb B, Johnsen KH, Roberds JH, Nelson CD. Genetic Variation in Water-Use Efficiency (WUE) and Growth in Mature Longleaf Pine. Forests. 2018; 9(11):727. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110727

Chicago/Turabian Style

Castillo, Ana C., Barry Goldfarb, Kurt H. Johnsen, James H. Roberds, and C. D. Nelson. 2018. "Genetic Variation in Water-Use Efficiency (WUE) and Growth in Mature Longleaf Pine" Forests 9, no. 11: 727. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110727

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