Phenology of wood formation and its genetic variability in larch : A step towards a better understanding of wood formation in relation to climate

Abstract : Larix is a genus of high interest for plantation due to its fast growth rate and appreciated wood quality. Larch has a great potential to be introduced in middle and lowland afforestations as an alternative to Douglas-fir. One important question for breeders is adaptation to environment. It is particularly relevant in the context of climatic changes where a strong decrease of soil water availability during the growth period is predicted. Three larch species are used by foresters in France for plantation establishment, for which breeders must supply more adapted material: European and Japanese larch and their interspecific hybrid. The higher performance of hybrid larch in afforestations demonstrates its great potential. The tissue structure of annual rings reflects the response of cambium (cell division, elongation and thickening of cell walls) to environmental factors (climate, soil fertility, competition, etc), as well as physiological states and genetics. Then, wood density can be interpreted as the result of cambial activity and its variation as the response of the tree to environment. However, to gain a better understanding of this response and of the variation of the xylogenesis process itself, it is important to spot the timing of wood cell production. There are different approaches to study the timing of wood formation. We used a combination of wood microdensitometry and of pinning method as a new approach to study the dynamic of wood formation from a tree improvement point of view. This new approach allowed us to go beyond the static character of the microdensity profile (where density variation is related to distance) and to transform it into a dynamic profile (where density variation is related to time). Variation in phenology of cambial activity can be seen as a mechanism better adjusting trees to their environment. If this adjustment improves fitness, then the corresponding tree anatomical response to environment variation may be seen as an adaptive response. As breeders, our interest is twice: on one side, a better understanding of cambial phenology and of wood formation in relation to pedo-climatic factors and climatic stress is urgent for profiling genotypes better fitted to their environment. On the other side, exploitation design trees with better wood properties. In larch, phenotypic variation of variables through breeding of knowledge about phenology of wood formation will help to related to the dates of initiation and completion of the formation of different tissues and to the total duration of ring formation is low. Last and final summary in the thesis.
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María Elena Gauchat Funes Drewes. Phenology of wood formation and its genetic variability in larch : A step towards a better understanding of wood formation in relation to climate. Agricultural sciences. AgroParisTech, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011AGPT0037⟩. ⟨pastel-00741764⟩

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