ORAL PRESENTATION: Can adapted oaks on relict sites help sustainable forest management in a changing climate?

Submitted by : Fady Bruno
Abstract type : Oral presentation
Session type : Conference session 3: CONSERVING and USING GENETIC DIVERSITY
Author Speaker : Charalambos Neophytou

Information about other authors :

Charalambos Neophytou1,*, Devrim Semizer-Cuming1,*, Alexander Braun1, Barbara Fussi2, Isabel Mück2, Franziska Schlosser3, Stefan Seegmüller3, Hans-Gerhard Michiels1

1Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg (FVA), Wonnhaldestrasse 4, 79100 Freiburg, Germany

2Bavarian Office for Forest Genetics (AWG), Forstamtsplatz 1, 83317 Teisendorf, Germany

3Research Institute of Forest Ecology and Forestry of Rhineland-Palatinate (FAWF), Hauptstraße 16, 67705 Trippstadt, Germany

*Contact: charalambos.neophytou@forst.bwl.de, devrim.semizer-cuming@forst.bwl.de

Abstract :

Relict oak (Quercus spp.) stands on extremely dry sites, particularly on steep scree slopes have not been the main focus of forest genetics and tree breeding programs in Central Europe. This is due to their poor growth characteristics. However, such sites presumably harbour a long habitat continuity. Due to the reduced competitive ability of common beech (Fagus sylvatica) and other shade tolerant species, oaks might have formed the climax community for a long time period, possibly since to the beginning of the Holocene. Given low site productivity and poor accessibility, it is unlikely that trees have been planted there by humans. Therefore, oaks on such sites are expected to be autochthonous and they have potentially adapted to regular water shortage over many generations. Here, we follow a multidisciplinary approach to: (1) record the site conditions of oak stands on putatively relict sites in southern Germany and Alsace and confirm their relict status by demonstrating indicator species of flora and fauna, (2) characterize the refugial origin of the oak in these stands via nuclear and chloroplast DNA markers and compare the results with the existing data on managed oak forests, (3) investigate adaptive genetic variation using a targeted sequence capture method and examine associations between genotypes and environmental and physiological stress variables, (4) study mature trees and their progenies in terms of their stress physiology to gain insights into drought resistance, and (5) provide a basis for the establishment of a progeny trial in order to test genetically-determined growth characteristics in the stands. In the long run, this is expected to answer the question of to what extent the use of reproductive material from these stands can help establishing climate-resilient oak forests.

Bibliografic references :

Keywords : oak, relict site, autochthony, adaptation, drought
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