Virginia longleaf conservation

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Virginia longleaf conservation

Post by Devin » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:23 am

An interesting article on longleaf restoration sites in Virginia. ... n-d2-1.pdf

Very cool project and I hope funding for these projects continue. Wow only 200 truly native long leafs left in Virginia, from the historical estimate of hundreds of millions.

I never would have thought that seed from northern long leafs are genetically superior to ones from the south. I would think the best genetics would derive from "the heart" of the species native range, much further south. Maybe the seed sources from the southern long leafs were from defunct stands with weak genes, especially if collected from sites that have historically been abused.

The Johnson et al. 2013 study states the northern source of seed was from only about 10 trees in Virginia. The vigor that these trees exhibited could be purely from the strong genes of that small seed source and might not really be representative of the entire region. Im pretty tired and maybe I missed something but they are planting plots in Virginia derived from one small population by grafting genetically identical scions from trees with superior genes (straightest/resistance to insect/disease) on each rootstock. So this future forest will be comprised of all "meathead" trees that are all genetically identical? Ecologically speaking, arent weak trees in the forest just as important as vigorous ones to maintain proper forest health? Will this evolve into a truly natural forest or some kind of a plantation forest?

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Re: Virginia longleaf conservation

Post by Don » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:48 am

While I'm not in any way a geneticist, my training tells me that any "bottleneck" of genes reduces the ability of the forest ecosystem containing them, to address the disturbances and vagaries of time, as well as forest ecosystem containing a broad genetic population makeup.
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Larry Tucei
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Re: Virginia longleaf conservation

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:57 pm

Devin- Interesting. I don't see how they could say that the northern LL would be superior to the southern counterpart. Maybe they should have said that in this region the LL are more adapted to this area than the southern LL. I read where the estimate was somewhere around 90-100 million LL in the entire southeastern US from Texas to Virginia. I would get seeds from different areas because some of the new LL may be already genetically engineered. Not much Old Growth LL left in the US. I am no genetic expert. Just a tree enthusiast. Larry

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