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    Author(s): J.B. St. Clair
    Date: 1994
    Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 24: 1236-1247
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.38 MB)


    Genetic variation and covariation among traits of tree size and structure were assessed in an 18-year-old Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) genetic test in the Coast Range of Oregon. Considerable genetic variation was found for relative crown width; stem increment per crown projection area; leaf area and branch weight relative to crown size; branch diameter and length adjusted for stem size; branch stoutness; cross-sectional area of branches per crown length; and needle size. Little genetic variation was found for branch numbers per whorl, branch angle, and specific leaf area. At both the phenotypic and genetic level, large trees growing well relative to growing space had tall, narrow crowns, high leaf areas per crown projection area or branch length, greater partitioning to leaves versus branches, and stouder branches. Thus, large, efficient trees were those that invested more in the photosynthetic machinery of leaf area and the branch biomass necessary to support that leaf area, but distributed that leaf area over a greater vertical distance. Unfortunately, these traits also were associated with increased branchiness, and selection for these traits would be accompanied by reductions in harvest index and wood quality.

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    St. Clair, J.B. 1994. Genetic variation in tree structure and its relation to size in Douglas-fir: II. crown form, branch characters, and foliage characters. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 24: 1236-1247

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