Hur påverkar olika skogsskötsel och föryngringsmetoder den genetiska variationen i skogen, och hur stor är den genetiska variationen som kan förklara anpassningen till olika miljöer/breddgrader?

Student: Alexis Sullivan

This project will examine effect of reforestation on genetic diversity using next generation sequencing to profile genomic diversity within forest stands under contrasting management strategies. The project will also study adaptation of local population to current and future climates. To understand the relationship between tree diversity and local environment, a provenance trial comprising 30 Norway spruce representing a latitudinal cline from 61°62'N in the south to 66°82'N in the north will be used to profile genetic variation. The baseline information gleaned from this project may ultimately prove important for optimizing forest productivity within a changing climate.
Another interesting question is about long term gene migration between planted stands and natural forest set asides. Do improved stands damage the nature? There is need for a new research field looking at long term consequences of large scale use of successively more highly improver trees. A potential risk associated with the use of exotic cultivars, and more recently with genetically modified trees (GMOs), is gene exchange with native species. This project will develop and employ species-specific molecular markers (SNPs) to estimate the rate of gene exchange between plantations of exotic aspens (both pure species and hybrids) and natural forest stands. Estimates of gene flow will be used in computer simulations to assess potential impacts of exotic cultivars and genetically-modified trees on Sweden's native stands, with direct applications to the sustainable use of forest resources.

Supervisors: Xiao-Ru Wang 
Co-supervisor: Nathaniel Street
Industry partner: Åke Granqvist (Stora Enso Plantor)