Journal News Feed – SJFR Volume 29, Issue 6, 2014

The journal news feed presents the editors’ condensed summaries of key findings from selected scientific papers from SNS’ two scientific journals Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research and Wood Material Science & Engineering.

Journal news feed from Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research (SJFR) Volume 29, find Issue 6, 2014  reviews four interesting new research articles.

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Substantial genetic variation in ash dieback susceptibility is confirmed

There have been a handful of studies indicating that ash dieback has a genetic component, which could be used for selection of resistant, or at least less susceptible, genotypes. A recent study in Denmark showed that genetic correlation with respect to crown damage was high between assessments made at 8 and 13 years of age. This indicates that superior genotypes can be selected at a young stage, provided that the infection rate in the trial is high enough.

Read more in Lobo, A. et al. 2014. Genetic variation in dieback resistance: growth and survival of Fraxinus excelsior under the influence of Hymenoschyphus pseudoalbidus. Scand J For Res 29(6), 519-526.

More birch biomass than expected in Norway

A new set of biomass functions for birch growing under Norwegian conditions showed that previous functions had underestimated the biomass of the trees. Norway has previously used Swedish functions, but the new study indicates that allocation patterns of the trees seem to differ between regions in Scandinavia. The new functions indicate a two percent higher biomass than previously expected. The new, more representative, functions have important implications, for example, for estimates of carbon sequestration.

Read more in Smith, A. et al. 2014. Functions for estimating aboveground biomass of birch in Norway. Scand J For Res 29(6), 565-578.

Large-scale Finnish experiments mimic natural disturbances

Natural disturbances such as fire and storm felling can affect the forest at both small and large scales. Traditional small experimental plots suffer from problems such as edge effects, and cannot take into account landscape-scale effects. Thus, there is a need for more large-scale experiments in Fennoscandia, similar to those already established in North America. The project DISTDYN has now established two sites, each of 700-1000 hectares, in eastern and southern Finland. This article describes the DISTDYN experiments, and also provides an overview of disturbance-based management experiments in Fennoscandia and North America.

Read more in Koivula, M. et al. 2014. Forest management inspired by natural disturbance dynamics (DISTDYN) – a long-term research and development project in Finland. Scand J For Res 29(6), 579-592.

Less pollen contamination in phenotypically superior offspring

External pollen contamination is a problem in seed orchards of wind-pollinated trees. The greater the difference between the selected orchard trees and the natural population outside the orchard, the more severe the problem of reduced genetic gain due to “wild pollen”. A study from the Czech Republic demonstrated that phenotypically superior individuals in progeny trials, namely offspring from the seed orchard clones, had a lower contamination rate than other individuals. The study was based on DNA fingerprinting, and the results confirmed earlier theoretical expectations for the first time.

Read more in Korecký, J. et al. 2014. Congruence between theory and practice: reduced contamination rate following phenotypic pre-selection within the Breeding without Breeding framework. Scand J For Res 29(6), 552-554.