2021 journal article
Breeding for Climate Change Resilience: A Case Study of Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.) in North America
Frontiers in Plant Science, 12, 790.
Earth’s atmosphere is warming and the effects of climate change are becoming evident. A key observation is that both the average levels and the variability of temperature and precipitation are changing. Information and data from new technologies are developing in parallel to provide multidisciplinary opportunities to address and overcome the consequences of these changes in forest ecosystems. Changes in temperature and water availability impose multidimensional environmental constraints that trigger changes from the molecular to the forest stand level. These can represent a threat for the normal development of the tree from early seedling recruitment to adulthood both through direct mortality, and by increasing susceptibility to pathogens, insect attack, and fire damage. This review summarizes the strengths and shortcomings of previous work in the areas of genetic variation related to cold and drought stress in forest species with particular emphasis on loblolly pine ( Pinus taeda L.), the most-planted tree species in North America. We describe and discuss the implementation of management and breeding strategies to increase resilience and adaptation, and discuss how new technologies in the areas of engineering and genomics are shaping the future of phenotype-genotype studies. Lessons learned from the study of species important in intensively-managed forest ecosystems may also prove to be of value in helping less-intensively managed forest ecosystems adapt to climate change, thereby increasing the sustainability and resilience of forestlands for the future.