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Title: Anthropogenic alterations of genetic diversity within tree populations: Implications for forest ecosystem resilience
Author: Schaberg, Paul G.; DeHayes, Donald H.; Hawley, Gary J.; Nijensohn, Samuel E.
Publication: Forest Ecology and Management. 256: 855-862.
Key Words: ecosystem resilience, natural selection, silvicultural management, genetic structure, rare alleles
Abstract: Healthy forests provide many of the essential ecosystem services upon which all life depends. Genetic diversity is an essential component of long-term forest health because it provides a basis for adaptation and resilience to environmental stress and change. In addition to natural processes, numerous anthropogenic factors deplete forest genetic resources. Genetic losses could be particularly consequential now because robust resilience is needed to respond to a growing number, variety, and frequency of stress exposures. Silvicultural management that selectively removes trees (and their genes) from forests may be another force reshaping forest gene pools. Although data concerning the influence of silvicultural management on genetic resources in temperate forests is somewhat mixed, through the genetic assessment of long-term silvicultural treatments within an eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) forest, and computer-based simulated harvests of a genetically mapped eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) stand, we found that the selective removal of trees can alter gene frequencies.
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