Canadian Forest Service Publications

Family variation in the morphology and physiology of white spruce (Picea glauca) seedlings in response to elevated CO2 and temperature. 2015. Carle, S.; Boyer-Groulx, D.; Lamhamedi, M.S.; Rainville, A.; Beaulieu, J.; Bernier, P.; Bousquet, J.; Margolis, H.A. J. Sustain. For. 34:169-198.

Year: 2015

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35958

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1080/10549811.2014.980895

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Tree improvement programs aim to develop families that are well-adapted to future growing conditions. To gain insight into the stability of the family genetic response to climate change, white spruce (Picea glauca) seedlings from 60 full-sib families were subjected to a combination of two temperature regimes and two levels of CO2 over two growing seasons. There was positive effect of warmer temperatures and higher CO2 on some growth variables but no significant family × treatment interactions. Instantaneous water use efficiency was the only physiological trait that was affected positively by the CO2 treatment, showing a 51% increase that was consistent across families.

Plain Language Summary

This study demonstrated that a temperature and CO2 concentration increase had a positive effect on the growth of white spruce seedlings.

According to the report published in 2007 by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), CO2 concentrations could double between now and 2100. This report also foresees an increase of 4°C in Canada’s average temperature. Forest geneticists wanted to know how these changes could affect the productivity of white spruce and if there is a potential for genetic improvement to seize these growth opportunities. To address this question, the researchers explored how simultaneous exposure to higher CO2 concentration and higher temperature affected the growth and physiology of white spruce seedlings from 60 families originating from 16 different geographic areas.

White spruce is one of the most planted forest species in Canada each year (more than 130 million seedlings).