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Ecosystem genetic experiments

Created 2022-01-17 10:41:59 and last modified 2023-03-29 06:51:16 CET
Began in 2021


The genetic composition of Swedish forests is gradually changing due to the use of tree breeding programs and seedling planting. Many common garden experiments already exist to study how different genotypes grow differently from one another. There is increasing interest in the ecosystem consequences of these growth differences; however, there are almost no existing “stand scale” genetics experiments that allow ecosystem pools (e.g. above and belowground C and N pools) or fluxes (e.g. Gross Primary Production, Net Primary Production, Net Ecosystem Exchange) to be assessed. Thus the goal of this experiment is to provide a comparison of how genetic improvement may influence forest ecosystem properties. The following genetic treatments for comparison at each location: a) a baseline unenhanced wild population, b) a 1st round seed-orchard crop, c) a 3rd round seed-orchard crop, d) a state-of the art mix of full-sib families from the breeding population. These comparisons will allow us to investigate how a gradient of genetic enhancement, including the past, present, and future improvements, impacts ecosystem properties and processes (e.g. carbon sequestration and storage).

Picea abies genetics carbon sequestration

Project details

Focal Species: Spruce (Picea abies)

Experimental Design: Randomized Block design with 4 replicates   

Experimental Treatments: 4 Genetic treatments, plots size: 0.1 ha (26.4 x 44 meters),

a) Unimproved (to represent baseline genetics)
b) 1 st round seed-orchard crop 
c) 3 st round seed-orchard crop
d) full-sib family from the breeding population (or a mix of several families) 

Suggested number of Sites: 3 (Västerbotten/Vindeln, Dalarna/Halsingland/Siljansfors, and Halland/Småland/Tönnersheden/Asa) 

Planting August-September 2023

Total Number of plots:  3 sites x 4 genetic treatments x 4 replicates = 3 sites x 16 plots = 48 plots, 0,12 ha/plot

960 trees/treatment and site,  3840 trees per site, 1,9 ha/site

2,2 m spacing

240 trees/plot,  4 sub-plots per plot with 60 trees per sub-plot


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