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Nature and Nurture: Genetics and Climate Influence the Timing of Flowering in TreesAuthor(s): Josh McDaniel; Janet S. Prevey; Connie Harrington; Brad St. Clair
Source: Science Findings 216. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.
Publication Series: Science Findings
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (4.0 MB)
DescriptionTo successfully reproduce, conifers must have impeccable timing—opening their female cones to receive pollen from the male cones of nearby trees. This timing is a response to temperature and other environmental cues. It is to the tree’s advantage to flower when risk of damaging frost is low, but early enough in the spring to take full advantage of the growing season.
Douglas-fir is ecologically important and the cornerstone of the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest. Seed orchard managers carefully breed different populations of the species to produce seedlings that will thrive in particular areas in need of replanting. Understanding the environmental cues that influence the timing of flowering is important for predicting how reproduction and survival of trees will change in the future. To address this need, a team of researchers with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station developed a model that predicts, within an average of 5 days, when Douglas-fir will flower. Seed orchard managers are using the model to plan and schedule time-sensitive tasks related to flowering in the orchards.
The model highlights how both cool and warm temperatures influence the date of flowering for Douglas-fir. It can be used to predict how future changes in temperature could influence flowering times across the range of Douglas-fir under different climate predictions.
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CitationMcDaniel, Josh; Prevey, Janet S.; Harrington, Connie; St. Clair, Brad. 2019. Nature and Nurture: Genetics and Climate Influence the Timing of Flowering in Trees. Science Findings 216. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.
KeywordsDouglas-fir, phenology, climate change, reproductive budburst.
- The timing of flowering in Douglas-fir is determined by cool-season temperatures and genetic variation
- Predicting Douglas-fir's response to a warming climate
- Breeding design considerations for coastal Douglas-fir.
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