Low Cost Improvement of Coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) By Application of The Breeding Seed Orchard Approach in Denmark

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An evaluation of a seedling seed orchard in Denmark of Coastal Douglas-fir showed variation between open pollinated families in their susceptibility to windthrow, height and diameter growth, stem straightness, number of forks at age 10 and bud burst at age 9. Individual narrow-sense heritability was 0.63 for bud burst, 0.40 for height and diameter, respectively, 0.48 for stem straightness, 0.20 for number of forks and 0.17 for windthrow susceptibility. Fast growing families were characterised by late bud burst, and poorer stem straightness. The approach of using seedling seed orchards in Denmark is discussed in relation to genetic gains, genetic diversity and risk of inbreeding. Predicted gains concerning a reduction of windthrow susceptibility were poor due to low genetic variability. In multi-trait selection scenarios aiming to improve growth, stem straightness and reducing windthrow susceptibility, the approach of using seedling seed orchards demonstrated that it might be possible to obtain gains in height above 5% combined with significant improvements of stem straightness while retaining an effective population size above 50.

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