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Individual Highlight

Long-term Provenance Trials for Selection of Future Forests

Photo of Pitch pine common garden plots in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, New Jersey, were planted in 1973 and 1974. The experiments include progeny of hundreds of trees raised from seeds collected in 72 different stands or “seed sources” throughout the natural distribution of pitch pine, ranging from Georgia to Quebec and from the coast of Maine to Ohio. John Hom, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Pitch pine common garden plots in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, New Jersey, were planted in 1973 and 1974. The experiments include progeny of hundreds of trees raised from seeds collected in 72 different stands or “seed sources” throughout the natural distribution of pitch pine, ranging from Georgia to Quebec and from the coast of Maine to Ohio. John Hom, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Long-term experiments initiated in 1973 and revisited in 2010 provide insights into pitch pine response to climate change and disturbance.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Hom, John 
Research Location : New Jersey Pine Barrens, Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, N.J.
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1121

Summary

Long-term research and datasets have become a hallmark of Forest Service research. Recently, results in four recent papers from a 40-plus year study using long-term common garden (provenance) trials are beginning to yield answers about natural selection, adaptation, migration and the evolutionary history of pitch pine (Pinus rigida). This work was initiated in 1973 with plantings from 72 seed sources ranging from Canada to Georgia at six common gardens by the late F. Thomas Ledig, a Forest Service Senior Scientist Emeritus when he was a professor at Yale. These long-term experiments were continued in 2010 in New Jersey through funding from the Forest Service Northern Research Station’s Global Change Research Program. Research found that local and southern seed sources did best in the climate coring studies, identified periods of missing rings due to insect defoliation, and showed that the dwarf form found in the pine plains was a fire ecotype of pitch pine. This research suggests that proximal seed sources remain the appropriate source for forest restoration in the Pinelands National Reserve. This research will be used by resource managers, climate change/restoration ecologists, and silviculturists. These long-term research sites conserve the diversity of pitch pine and provide information for planning future ecological restoration.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Columbia University
  • Rutgers University

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