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07 - Douglas-fir Seedlings in the Pacific Northwest: The Genetics of Drought Adaptation

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Presented at

XXV IUFRO WORLD CONGRESS

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Abstract

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is a widely distributed, ecologically important, and commercially valuable tree species in North America. However, climate change is expected to adversely impact Douglas-fir trees, and assisted migration may become necessary to lessen the effects of climate change. Because drought stress is one of the projected effects of climate change in the western U.S., it is increasingly important to include drought adaptation traits in breeding programs and in reforestation decisions. In this study, I addressed the following objectives: (1) obtain baseline measurements and climate data to help in the analysis and interpretation of future measurements in the Drought Hardiness Study; (2) characterize the quantitative genetics of drought adaptation traits; and (3) determine whether drought adaptation traits are associated with the climatic origin of Douglas-fir seedlings. To achieve these objectives, data were collected from about 10,000 Douglas-fir seedlings from 429 families from western Oregon and Washington that were planted at two sites (Sprague and Lost Creek) in southern Oregon. Measured variables, which I refer to as drought adaptation traits, included height, second flushing, spring bud flush, damage (foliage, stems, and leaders), and survival. I will discuss the design and results of a study that help increase the understanding about the importance of climatic-driven genetic differences for drought adaptation traits in Douglas-fir. The results of this study will provide useful information for understanding drought, enhancing breeding programs, and potentially adjusting forest management to climate change impacts.

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