Testing the Adaptive Significance of Seed Zones in Scots Pine
Carried out by: University of Edinburgh; The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology; The James Hutton Insitute; Forest Research
This project, supported by the Trust, used a combination of molecular markers and growth experiments to assess the effectiveness of designated seed zones in Scots pine for the conservation of adaptive variation. The research concluded that there is strong evidence for genetic variation among native Scots pine populations in Scotland in terms of phenology and response to low winter temperature and drought.
SFT Funds Awarded: £41,395
The thesis concluded that there are genetic differences between native Scots pine populations in Scotland in terms of the timing of growth in spring and their ability to cope with cold in winter. Importantly, the observed geographic patterns were not random but reflected differences in the local environment – for example, the most cold-tolerant trees were from the coldest sites. This indicates that natural selection has been at work and that native Scots Pine forests are differently, and locally, adapted to their home site.
How have the results been used?
The research has raised awareness about the need to reconsider current practice. The Forestry Commission noted that "His work, when combined with the more accurate and detailed data that have recently become available on the climate experienced by our native Scots pine stands, provides an important insight into which environmental factors should be considered as key when deciding which seed sources are most appropriate for a given site. My understanding is that his results show that there is significant genetic adaptation to environmental factors operating across the range of native pine populations in the Highlands".
|Fast phenotyping using chlorophyll fluorescence detects drought response in a common-garden trial of five native Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) populations in Scotland. |
Matti J. Salmela, Stephen Cavers, Joan E. Cottrell & Richard A. Ennos (2010)
|submitted to Plant, Cell and Environment||2010|
|Understanding the evolution of native pinewoods in Scotland will benefit their future management and conservation. |
Matti J. Salmela, Stephen Cavers, Witold Wachowiak, Joan E. Cottrell, Glenn Iason
|Forestry - Volume 83, Number 5||2010|
|Seasonal patterns of photosynthesis under extreme winter conditions of 2009/2010 reveal adaptive differentiation among native Scots pine populations (Pinus sylvestris) in Scotland. |
Matti J. Salmela, Stephen Cavers, Joan E. Cottrell, Glen R Iason, Richard A. Ennos (2010)
|Forest Ecology and Management - Forest Ecology and Management 262 (2011) 1020â€“1029||2011|