Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Ke Aira Davis - Alabama A&M University
Co-Author(s): Tyesha Farmer, Alabama A&M University, AL Liming Bian, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, China
The Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) accounts for one quarter of China’s national timber production and covers 30% of all forest plantations in Southern China. Due to attractive features such as decay resistance and rapid growth, this wood resource is a chief commercial export often used in building construction and furniture manufacturing, and it has traditionally held significant cultural meaning in Chinese society. Because of its large financial impact, continual study and maintenance of the Chinese fir tree is a major economic objective influencing Chinese trade and industry. The Yangkou Forest Farm, located in Fujian Province, is a germplasm resource dedicated to improving the growth characteristics of the Chinese fir to preserve its standing as an economically impactful resource within the wood production industry. The primary aim of this study was to assess correlations between growth traits, physical features, and province of origin in 30 randomly selected Chinese fir trees grown at the Yangkou Forest Farm. The selected trees were among 800 total trees grafted in 2010. The following characteristics were carefully evaluated for each tree: cone size (length x width), cone shape, bract, bract-apex, bark color, needle color, needle texture, needle length, crown width, tree height, growth potential, and province of origin. Descriptive data were ranked and transformed into numerical format and Pearson’s Correlation coefficients were generated in SAS for each trait-pair. Sixteen significant correlations were observed. Interestingly, trees from southern provinces were typically taller with higher growth potential than trees from Northern provinces, suggesting that climate may largely influence tree growth rates. Significant positive correlations were found between cone width and length (p > .000) and between tree height and crown width (p > .016). Of note, needle number and needle color (p > .031) were positively correlated, while needle length and needle color (p > .001) were negatively correlated. Previous studies of the Chinese fir have correlated growth traits with various wood properties across populations of Chinese fir. The current study focuses on phenotype correlations within trees examined in the study. These correlations may be heavily influenced by growth environments as well as genetic parameters. Future investigations will evaluate additional trees from the 2010 germplasm to validate the correlations found in this study and to increase the power to detect other significant correlations.
References: Hung et al.: De novo characterization of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) transcriptome and analysis of candidate genes involved in cellulose and lignin biosynthesis. BMC Genomics 2012, 13:648. Lei, J.F. Forest Resources in China; China Forestry Publish House: Beijing, China 2005; p.172.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Funding was provided through USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture CREST Grant No. HRD-1036600.
Faculty Advisor: Tyesha Farmer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: The research I conducted was going out into the Yangkou Forest Farm and evaluated different characteristics of the Chinese fir tree. The things I observed were the cones (size, shape, conformation), needles (length, color, texture, number), and other tree characteristics (bark color, crown width, tree height and growth potential). Then I used SAS/STAT software and Pearson's correlation to rank and transform the data collected from the traits.