Genetic overload of silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) from five populations from central Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Abstract

The research was conducted with a view to establishing physiological parameters of the silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) with regard to germination energy, absolute germination and genetic overload produced by silver fir populations. The intention was to identify significant variability within populations and subpopulations, or rather within the two combined, and to give recommendations on the usage and usability of seeds from specific populations.

The results form a basis for establishing silver fir genetic overload within five fir populations of central Bosnia and Herzegovina. The results of research on the characteristics such as absolute seed weight, germination energy and absolute germination are within a scope of previous studies.

The studied physiological characteristics of silver fir seeds in the central Bosnia area showed distinct individual and inter-population variability when compared to variability of the subpopulations analyzed.

The inclusion of non-physiological data (height, DBH, age and the presence of mistletoe) concerning sampled trees proved to be effective new quality of research. No correlation was found between DBH and seed physiological characteristics but increased tree height had a positive effect on seed quality in terms of absolute germination and growth, proportional to tree height. This in turn shows that seeds should be collected only from trees of above average height, because they are less genetically overloaded.

The characteristics of healthy but ungerminated seeds from less tall trees displayed lower parameter values, also indicating that seeds should be collected from taller than average trees only.

The presence of mistletoe had a very interesting effect of increasing rotten seeds percentage, and therefore reducing seed quality. Accordingly, seed collection should be limited to trees not affected by mistletoe, however further research on this aspect is required.

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