Advantage of clonal deployment in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst)

Key message There is considerable genetic gain of tree volume from clonal deployment in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst) and clonal deployment will have at least 50% more or double genetic gain than the seedling deployment.

Context Genetic parameters and genetic gains for wood quality and growth traits were estimated in six large clonal progeny trials.

Aims Develop the optimal clonal deployment strategy of Norway spruce in Sweden.

Methods Wood quality and growth traits were measured in all clonal trials and additive and non-additive genetic variances are partitioned.

Results Additive and non-additive genetic variances were equally important for growth traits while non-additive variance was small or not significant for wood quality trait. The genetic gain predicted for clonal deployment was greater than any of the other four deployment strategies. Selecting the top 1% of tested clones (clonal forestry) would have 48.4% and 134.6% more gain than the gain predicted for the seedling deployment of selected full-sib families and half-sib family (family forestry), respectively, at the same selection intensity.

Conclusion This study highlights that testing of 30–40 clones per family would maximize the realized genetic gain for different clonal selection scenarios, either selecting the best ten or 20 clones without any co-ancestry restrictions or selecting the best single clone from each of the best ten or 20 families (e.g., co-ancestry restriction). Clonal mean selection and vegetative deployment are the most effective.

Clonal forestry, Family forestry, Wood quality traits, DBH, Genetic gain, Non-additive genetic variance

Chen, Z., Hai, H.N.T., Helmersson, A. et al. Advantage of clonal deployment in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst). Annals of Forest Science 77, 14 (2020).

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