Competition Effects in a Young Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis, Bong. Carr) Clonal Trial

S. Brotherstone, I.M.S. White, R. Sykes, R. Thompson, T. Connolly, S. Lee, J. Woolliams

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In the analysis of forestry experiments, there may be a need to adjust for competition between plots before predicting deployment performance in the field but there have been few attempts to investigate this. Our analysis looked at diameter data from a 19-year old Sitka spruce clonal trial growing in Scotland. Using a sequence of nested models, a likelihood ratio test indicated that fitting competition at both the genetic and residual level provided a significantly better fit than models which either ignored competition or fitted it at just the genetic or just the residual level. A strong negative genetic correlation of -0.93 +/- 0.05 was found between the direct genetic effects and competition effects. This was not significantly different from -1, indicating that competition is almost exactly proportional to the direct genetic effect and that a tree will exert a competitive effect which is closely related to its own genetic merit for size. At the residual level, the correlation between direct and competition effect was estimated as -0.17 +/- 0.03. We conclude that competition exists at both the genetic and environmental levels and including it in genetic evaluation systems gives a better prediction of future performance. Results also demonstrate that it is possible to obtain useful information about competition effects from a single-tree plot experiment.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalSilvae Genetica
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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