Canadian Forest Service Publications
Annual aboveground carbon uptake enhancements from assisted gene flow in boreal black spruce forests are not long-lasting. 2021. Girardin, M.P., Isabel, N., Guo, X.J., Lamothe, M, Duchesne, I., et Lenz, P.; Nature Communications. 12, 1169.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 40323
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Assisted gene flow between populations has been proposed as an adaptive forest management strategy that could contribute to the sequestration of carbon. Here we provide an assessment of the mitigation potential of assisted gene flow in 46 populations of the widespread boreal conifer Picea mariana, grown in two 42-year-old common garden experiments and established in contrasting Canadian boreal regions. We use a dendroecological approach taking into account phylogeographic structure to retrospectively analyse population phenotypic variability in annual aboveground net primary productivity (NPP). We compare population NPP phenotypes to detect signals of adaptive variation and/or the presence of phenotypic clines across tree lifespans, and assess genotype‐by‐environment interactions by evaluating climate and NPP relationships. Our results show a positive effect of assisted gene flow for a period of approximately 15 years following planting, after which there was little to no effect. Although not long lasting, well-informed assisted gene flow could accelerate the transition from carbon source to carbon sink after disturbance.