OJE  Vol.3 No.5 , September 2013
Assessing effects of seed source and transfer potential of white birch populations using transfer functions

Trees have adapted to their local climates, but with changes in the climate, they may currently or in the near future occupy climates that are sub-optimal for growth and survival. The goal of current reforestation is therefore to establish a new generation of trees with growth adapted to the future climate(s). Here, we present preliminary data of a study assessing the effects of seed source and transfer potential of white birch populations. Seeds from twenty-five white birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) populations collected acrossCanadawere grown in the greenhouse and observed for emergence time, germination and growth. The seedlings were later planted in a common garden. After one year, the seedlings were measured for height, root-collar diameter (RCD) and survival rate and average volume per seedling calculated. Transfer functions were used to estimate the climatic distance from which populations may be transferred to the test site. There was a significant effect of population on all growth variables. Initial height was positively correlated with 1-year height and survival. Germination rate negatively correlated with emergence time. Principal component analysis showed effects of seed origin on performances of the populations in the common garden. Summer temperature was the best predictor of the transfer distance.

Cite this paper: Oke, O. and Wang, J. (2013) Assessing effects of seed source and transfer potential of white birch populations using transfer functions. Open Journal of Ecology, 3, 359-369. doi: 10.4236/oje.2013.35041.

[1]   Jackson, S.T. (2004) Impacts of past climate change on species distribution of woody plants in North America. Proceedings of the 29th Meeting of the Canadian Tree Improvement Association Part 2, Kelowna, July 2004, 7-11.

[2]   Wang, T., Hamann, A., Yanchuk, A., O’Neill, G.A. and Aitken, S.N. (2006) Use of response functions in selecting lodgepole pine populations for future climates. Global Change Biology, 12, 2404-2416. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01271.x

[3]   Rehfeldt, G.E., Tchebakova, N.M., Milyutin, L.I., Parfenova, Y.I, Wykoff, W.R. and Kouzima, N.A. (2003) Assessing population response to climate in Pinus sylvestris and Larix spp. of Eurasia with climate-transfer models. Eurasian Journal of Forest Research, 6, 83-98.

[4]   Peters, R.L. and Lovejoy, T.L. (1990) Global warming and biological diversity. Yale University Press, New Haven, 298-308.

[5]   Lindroth A., Grelle A. and Moren A.S. (1998) Long-term measurements of boreal forest carbon balance reveal large temperature sensitivity, Global Change Biology, 4, 443-450. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2486.1998.00165.x

[6]   Roberts, L. (1989). How fast can trees migrate? Science, 243, 735-737. doi:10.1126/science.243.4892.735

[7]   Joyce, L.M., Fosberg, M.A. and Comanor, J.M. (1990) Climate change and America’s forest. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, General Technical Report RM-187, 12.

[8]   Carter, K.K. (1996) Provenance tests as indicators of growth response to climate change in 10 north temperate tree species. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 26, 1089-1095. doi:10.1139/x26-120

[9]   Marchin, R.M., Sage, E.L. and Ward, J.K. (2008) Population-level variation of Fraxinus americana (white ash) is influenced by precipitation differences across the native range. Tree Physiology, 28, 151-159. doi:10.1093/treephys/28.1.151

[10]   Morgenstern, E.K. (1996) Geographic variation in forest trees: Genetic basis and application of knowledge in silviculture. UBC Press, Vancouver, BC.

[11]   Neilson, R.P., Pitelka, L.F., Solomon, A.M., Nathan, R., Midgley, G.F., Fragoso, J.M.V., Lischke, H. and Thompson, K. (2005) Forescasting regional to global plant migration in response to climate change. Bioscience, 55, 749-759. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2005)055[0749:FRTGPM]2.0.CO;2

[12]   Parker, W.C., Colombo, S.J., Cherry, M.L., Flannigan, M.D., Greifenhagen, S., McAlpine, R.S., Papadopol, C. and Scarr, T. (2000) Third millenium forestry: What climate change might mean to forests and forest management in Ontario. The Forestry Chronicle, 76, 445-463.

[13]   Rehfeldt, G.E., Tchebakova, N.M., Parfenova, Y.I, Wykoff, W.R., Kuzmina, N.A and Milyutin, L.I. (2002) Intraspecific response to climate in Pinus sylvestris. Global Change Biology, 8, 912-929. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2486.2002.00516.x

[14]   Rehfeldt, G.E., Tchebakova N.M., and Parfenova, E.I. (2004) Genetic responses to climate and climate change in conifers of the temperate and boreal forests. Advanced Generation Breeding, 1, 113-130.

[15]   Langlet, O. (1971) Two hundred years of genecology. Taxon, 20, 653-722. doi:10.2307/1218596

[16]   Matyas, C. (1994) Modeling climate change effects with provenance test data. Tree Physiology, 14, 797-804.

[17]   Rehfeldt, G.E., Ying, C.C., Spittlehouse, D.L. and Hamilton, D.A. (1999) Genetic responses to climate change in Pinus contorta: Niche breadth, climate change, and reforestation. Ecological Engineering, 69, 379-407.

[18]   Rehfeldt, G.E., Tchebakova, N.M. and Barnhardt, L.K. (1999) Efficacy of climate transfer functions: introduction of Eurasian populations of Larix into Alberta. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 29, 1660-1668. doi:10.1139/x99-143

[19]   Rehfeldt, G.E., Tchebakova, N.M., Milyutin, L.I., Parfenova, Y.I., W ykoff, R.A. and Kuzmina, N.A. (2003). Assessing population responses to climate in Pinus sylvestris and Larix spp. of Eurasia with climate-transfer models. Eurasian Journal of Forest Research, 6, 83-98.

[20]   Thomson, A.M. and Parker, W.H. (2008) Boreal forest provenance tests used to predict optimal growth and response to climate change. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 38, 157-170. doi:10.1139/X07-122

[21]   Wang, T., O’Neill G.A. and Aitken, S.N. (2010) Integrating environmental and genetic effects to predict responses of tree populations to climate. Ecological Applications, 20, 153-163. doi:10.1890/08-2257.1

[22]   Laura P.L., Andrew P.R., Gerald E.R., John D.M. and Nicholas L.C. (2012) Height-growth response to climatic changes differs among populations of Douglas-fir: A novel analysis of historic data. Ecological Applications, 22, 154-165. doi:10.1890/11-0150.1

[23]   Safford, L., Bjorkbom, J.C. and Zasada, J.C. (1990) Betula papyrifera Marsh. Paper birch. In: Burns, R.M. and Honkala, B.H. Eds., Silvics of North America, Vol. 2, Hardwoods, Agricultural Handbook 654. USDA Forest Service, Washington DC, 604-611.

[24]   Peterson, E.B., Peterson, N. M., Simard, S. W. and Wang, J. R. (1997) Paper birch managers’ handbook for British Columbia. FRDA II, Victoria, BC.

[25]   Simard, S.W. (1996) Ecological and silvicultural characteristics of paper birch in the southern interior of British Columbia. Ecology and Management of British Columbia Hardwoods: Workshop Proceedings, Richmond, BC, 1-2 December 1993, 157-165.

[26]   Wang, J.R., Hawkins, C.D.B. and Letchford, T. (1998) Relative growth rate and biomass allocation of paper birch (Betula papyrifera) populations under different soil moisture and nutrient regimes. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 28, 44-55. doi:10.1139/x97-191

[27]   Wang, J.R., Hawkins, C.D.B. and Letchford, T. (1998) Photosynthesis, water and nitrogen use efficiencies of four paper birch (Betula papyrifera) populations grown under different soil moisture and nutrient regimes. Forest Ecology and Management, 112, 233-244. doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(98)00407-1

[28]   Simpson, D.G., Binder, W.D. and L’Hirondelle, S. (2000) Paper birch genecology and physiology: Spring dormancy release and fall cold acclimation. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 10, 191-198.

[29]   Benowicz, A., Guy, R., Carlson, M.R. and El-Kassaby, Y.A. (2000) Genetic variation among paper birch (Betula papyrifera. Marsh.) populations in germination, frost hardiness, gas exchange and growth. Silvae Genetica, 50, 7-13.

[30]   Benowicz A., Guy R.D., Carlson M.R. and El-Kassaby Y.A. (2001) Genetic variation among paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) populations in germination, frost hardiness, gas exchange and growth. Silvae Genetica, 50, 7-13.

[31]   Downs, R. and Bevington, J.M. (1981) Effect of temperature and photoperiod on growth and dormancy of Betula papyrifera. American Journal of Botany, 68, 795-800. doi:10.2307/2443185

[32]   Bevington, J. (1986). Geographic differences in the seed germination of paper birch (Betula papyrifera). American Journal of Botany, 73, 564-573. doi:10.2307/2444262

[33]   McWilliams, E.L., Landers, R.Q. and Mahlstede, J.P. (1968) Variation in seed weight and germination in populations of Amaranthus retroflexus L. Ecology, 49, 290-296. doi:10.2307/1934458

[34]   Nelson, J.R., Harris, G.A. and Goebel, C.J. (1970) Genetic vs. environmentally induced variation in medusahead (Taeniatherum asperum [Simokai] nevski). Ecology, 51, 526-529. doi:10.2307/1935391

[35]   Baskin, J.M. and Baskin, C.J. (1973) Plant population differences in dormancy and germination characteristics of seeds: Heredity or environment? The American Midland Naturalist, 90, 493-498. doi:10.2307/2424478

[36]   Carlson, M.R., Berger, V.G. and Hawkins, C.D.B. (2000) Seed source testing of paper birch (Betula papyrifera) in the interior of British Columbia. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 10, 25-34. doi:10.1300/J091v10n01_03

[37]   Marks, C.O. and Lechowicz, M.J. (2006) Alternative designs and the evolution of functional diversity. The American Naturalist, 167, 55-66.

[38]   Dey, D.C. and Parker, W.C. (1997) Morphological indicators of stock quality and field performance of red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings underplanted in a central Ontario shelterwood. New Forests, 14, 145-156. doi:10.1023/A:1006577201244

[39]   Ackerly, D.D., Sultan, S.E., Schmitt, J.S., Linder, C.R., Sandquist, D.R., Geber, M.A., Evans, A.W., Dawson, T.E. and Lechowicz, M.J. (2000) The evolution of plant ecophyisological traits: Recent advances and future directions. Bioscience, 50, 979-994. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2000)050[0979:TEOPET]2.0.CO;2

[40]   Stott, P. and Loehle, C. (1998) Height growth rate trade-offs determine northern and southern range limits for trees. Journal of Biogeography, 25, 735-742. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.1998.2540735.x

[41]   Ying, C.C. (1991) Performance of lodgepole pine provenances at sites in southwestern British Columbia. Silvae Genetica, 40, 215-223.

[42]   Matyas, C. and Yeatman, C.W. (1992) Effects of geographical transfer on growth and survival of jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) populations. Silvae Genetica, 43, 370-376.

[43]   Ying, C.C. and Yanchuk, A.D. (2006) The development of British Columbia’s tree seed transfer guidelines: Purpose, concept, methodology, and implementation. Forest Ecology and Management, 227, 1-13.

[44]   Hamann, A., Gylander, T. and Chen, P.Y. (2011) Developing seed zones and transfer guidelines with multivariate regression trees. Tree Genetics & Genomes, 7, 399-408. doi:10.1007/s11295-010-0341-7

[45]   Li, W.-L., Berlyn, G.P. and Ashton, P.M.S. (1996) Polyploids and their structural and physiological characteristics relative to water deficit in Betula papyrifera (Betulaceae). American Journal of Botany, 83, 15-20. doi:10.2307/2445949