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Individual Highlight

Shortleaf pine genetics, hybridization, and restoration

Photo of Dominant shortleaf pine (left) and loblolly pine (right) at Crossett Experimental Forest, Arkansas. Dominant shortleaf pine (left) and loblolly pine (right) at Crossett Experimental Forest, Arkansas. Snapshot : Shortleaf pine is a priority species for restoration in the eastern U.S. Understanding the genetics of the species is important for restoration planning and implementation, as recent genetics work has shown increased rates of shortleaf- loblolly pine hybridization as a potential restoration issue. DNA testing of orchard and nursery stocks for hybridity can insure purer shortleaf pine planting stock to meet the needs of natural resource managers who are restoring shortleaf pine ecosystems.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Nelson, C. Dana 
Research Location : Harrison Experimental Forest; Region 8 Seed Orchards and Nurseries
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1310


To continue to address the genetic information needs of the Shortleaf Pine Initiative, Forest Service scientists completed a study looking at hybridity of shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) orchard and nursery stocks across the southeastern U.S. Their study sampled both Forest Service and state agency facilities. They found none to limited amounts of first-generation (F1) hybrids with loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) in the orchards and nurseries; however, there was evidence for an appreciable amount of later-generation hybridity. This may reflect bias in selecting shortleaf pines with some hybrid character for initial orchard establishment. Their previous research showed that shortleaf-loblolly pine hybrids have many desirable (strong competitive) characteristics under fire-excluding conditions, but not when fire is frequent. Establishing and maintaining shortleaf pine with frequent fire will greatly reduce or even eliminate hybrids regenerating and developing into the overstory. In addition to this research, they surveyed the literature on shortleaf pine genetics and prepared a review that can be used to guide further research and restoration planning activities. The work will be invaluable to natural resource managers across the southeast.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Region 8 Forest Management
  • Oklahoma State University

Program Areas