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Nutritional status and genetic variation in the response to nutrient availability in Pinus pinaster. A multisite field study in NW Spain

AuthorsMartíns, Patricia; Sampedro Pérez, Luis ; Moreira Tomé, Xoaquín ; Zas Arregui, Rafael
KeywordsGenetic variation
Phenotypic plasticity
Genotype x environment interaction
Fertilization × genotype interaction
Nutrient deficiencies
Plasticity index
Issue Date15-Sep-2009
CitationForest Ecology and Management, 258 (7): 1429-1436
AbstractThe low nutrient availability of the acidic and sandy soils of Galicia (Northwest Spain) is probably the main environmental factor limiting forest primary productivity in the area. These particular edaphic conditions could have imposed selective pressures on maritime pine populations leading to specific local adaptations. We first assessed the nutritional status of 22 young contemporary Pinus pinaster plantations in Northwest Spain, and then analysed the response to fertilization in three family × fertilization trials, and how this response varied across sites and genotypes. Growth of P. pinaster in Northwest Spain appeared to be largely limited by nutrient availability, where most of the plantations showed severe nutrient deficiencies, especially in P and Mg. According to these deficiencies, a strong positive response to nutrient additions was observed in the three trials, with height increments of up to 30% compared with the unfertilized control. However, the response to fertilizers was very variable from site to site, and in some cases did not agree with the foliar nutritional diagnosis. The response to fertilization was also significantly affected by pine genotype, suggesting that the plastic response to nutrient additions within each environment was under genetic control. However, the family response to nutrient availability was not consistent across sites, and no significant differences among families were observed for the RDPI plasticity index – a single index that summarizes the phenotypic change in multiple environments – when analysed across environments. The strong environmental component modulating phenotypic responses to fertilization could impose an important obstacle to evolve specific adaptations to the local edaphic conditions, as well as to artificially select genotypes adapted to different environments and silviculture regimes.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2009.06.041
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