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Twenty-two year measurements of a test of inter- and intraspecific larch hybrids among European (E), Japanese (J) and tamarack (T) parents growing in central Maine reveal significant hybrid vigor, especially among crosses involving J and E parents. The mean heights and diameters of all the interspecific crosses between J and E parents exceeded those of intraspecific crosses among either of the parents. The mean height after 22 years for all 17 JxE and ExJ crosses was 19.2 m (63 feet), which compares favorably with heights of loblolly pine plantations at age 25 growing in the southeastern USA, where site index ranged from 12.2 m to 24.4 m (40 and 80 feet respectively). In addition the mean height of these larch crosses was 30% greater than that of a control hybrid seed lot of German origin. Crosses between E and T parents also performed well, but exhibited relatively poor form, and seed set was very low. Seed set and viability for crosses between J and E were as good as intraspecific parental crosses. Therefore propagation of hybrid larch crosses via controlled pollination and rooted cuttings is feasible, and the potential benefits of larch plantations for Maine’s forest economy are briefly discussed.
Using the (unweighted) average linkage clustering (UPGMA) method we classified 458 phytosociological relevés of Larix decidua forests in the Southeastern Alps into 25 clusters. Based on their analysis we described the following new subassociations: Rhodothamno-Laricetum deciduae geetosum rivalis, sorbetosum chamaemespili, piceetosum abietis, adoxetosum moschatellinae, cystopteridetosum fragilis, cyclaminetosum purpurascentis, dryadetosum octopetalae and sorbetosum ariae. The selected method proved adequate in identifying the differences between larch stands on potential subalpine spruce and beech sites, and larch forests on the upper forest line, as well as the differences between initial larch stages on the upper forest line and more stable development stages on better developed soils on promontories and ledges above the upper beech forest line. Larch forests occur mainly in the altitudinal belt between (1,500) 1,600 and 1,800 (1,900) m, on shady aspects and slopes that are steeper than 30°. They are some of the best preserved forest types in the Southeastern Alps, on smaller surface areas (Macesnje above the Beli Potok valley in the Julian Alps) even virgin forests, and their role as biotopes is exceptional.