Bertil Lindquist wrote a book published 1946, which received much attention and thus probably became a major fundament of “early thoughts”.
Focusing on my evaluation of the book in the light of the current situation
Seeds should be collected stands where historic factors speaks for that they are less genetically degraded by human interference than alternatives and which looks phenotypically good. The first step in that process could be a country-wide mapping. The seed collection should be directed to the best looking trees within stands. I believe Lindquist is right in principle but give an impression of that the effects of those actions would be much larger than they are. The genetic leveling out of differences caused by pollen flight had not been analyzed and was not considered. It was not recognized that only a small share of the genetic variation is useable by the available tools, the most important is the continuous provenance variation, and this is taken care of anyway. Besides that, results have shown that the genetic variation is less important than the environmental. Lindquist emphasizes external quality more that rapid growth, but our experiments show that the response to growth rate has been larger than that to quality.
mentions a number of Swedish locations where (staffed) forest tree improvement
is going on (
The focus at Ekebo at its foundation was triploids, others abroad worked much with hybrids, when Gustafsson became professor 1948 attention was given to mutation breeding, it is remarkable little written about any of those “side lines”.
Looking in “föreningen” yearbook since 1938, I could not find maps with “plus” and “minus” stands as in Lindqvist (1946) (only a few for individual counties).
Lindquist seems to trust in a rather rigid governmental control, in particular about the seed orchards.
Lindquist seems to have worked only a decade as forest geneticist, after that he become manager of the botanical garden in Gothenburg.
There are no quantitative calculations or predictions of expected gain by the different activities suggested. The phenotypic superiority of selections is quantified, but there are no suggestions of genetic superiority based on quantitative reasoning, just a few highly speculative statements of 50 or 100% superiority. In chapter 8 (national economy) he mentions 20%.
A passage from the still more than two decades after its publication probably most used tree improvement text book by Zobel and Talbert (1984) says (slightly modified): It is of interest how three different incidents triggered the establishment of large, well-organised, and adequately financed tree improvement programs in the south-eastern United States over 30 years ago. The first was the publication of a book on forest genetics by Bertil Lindquist. The book was translated into English (and many other languages) and was circulated widely among foresters. It was written in a manner that caught the interest of foresters, and from it many obtained their first insights into the use of genetics in forest trees…
must have had a large World-wide impact and particular in
The book appeared at a time when Race Biology was still more touchy than today. It had political implications. The Nazis supported their policy with Race Biology arguments. The Commies claimed the reverse (that would make humans more modifiable to scientific Marxism-Leninism). Not that we are so very objective towards genetic change today (“Creative design…”)…
The book is structured in nine chapters.
There are no direct references (although the persons are often mentioned and there is an appendix with relevant literature). Thus the degree of speculation in statements is difficult to verify.
There are 60 photos, many of them suggestive showing trees or stands which look very superior (or sometime inferior) to other trees and stands. There are no formulas and only five “scientific looking” graphs and tables. One understands Zobel’s comment that it was written in a manner that caught the interest of foresters.
Chapter 1 about facts. Lindquist states that the subject is a difficult matter and we are often forced to rely on probabilities or analogies. There are examples there it seems very likely that differences between tree populations in e.g. bole form and branching habit are caused by genetic factors. That has also been proven by controlled crosses.
Chapter 2 is titled “Deterioration of the
genetic quality of
Chapter 3 about immediate measures
(mainly choosing seed collection areas). Many plantations of local provenance show a
remarkable bad type of branching and bole, Lindquist ascribes that to the
genetic quality of the used local seed sources, later research has made it
probable that it is plantation in wide spacing itself which is the main
culprit. Lindquist suggests a country-wide inventory and describes much of a
variation which might be genetic of pine in middle and
Chapter 4 about long-term measures
(mainly establishing clonal seed orchards). It is noted that the annual seed demand is 60
tons, but only 25 tons are produced. (Today about ?? tonnes are used). For seed
production in a grafted seed orchard there is a guess (referring to Larsen and
Jensen) of a yearly seed crop of 50kg/hectare. Girdling, root pruning and
grafting were suggested to improve flowering. Today we know that nothing of
this works and grafts produce more seeds than similar managed seedlings only in
the establishment phase. Seed production has been raised from initial 4 to 7 kg
per hectare by relevant management procedures. 6-10 clones were suggested for a
seed orchard and 100 clones were considered sufficient for the need of
Chapter 5 is about plus trees. Plus tree selection and progeny-testing were discussed.
Chapter 6: best utilization of the elite material
Chapter 7 effect on forest management
Chapter 8 National economic consequences
Chapter 9. Realisation in Sweden
Lindqvist, B. 1946. Den skogliga rasforskningen och praktiken. Svenska
Skogsvårdsföreningens förlag, Stockholm. Available in English. Chronica Botanica,
Zobel, B. and Talbert,
J.T. 1984. Applied