iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Bud flush phenology and nursery carryover effect of paper birch provenances

Amalesh Dhar (1-2)   , Nicole Balliet (1), Christopher DB Hawkins (1-3), Michael R Carlson (4), Vicky G Berger (4), Ronald Mahoney (5)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 6, Pages 809-817 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1367-008
Published: May 19, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh) is an ecologically valuable species with a broad geographic distribution across the North America. Its diversity, versatility and enduring nature make it an ideal candidate for a selective breeding program in this region. However, an understanding of the genecology of this species is fundamental to deploy it successfully. Ten paper birch provenances were collected from British Columbia (BC, Canada) and northern Idaho (USA) along elevational transects to determine whether observed bud flush phenology was due to genetics and /or environmental variation or their interaction. Seedlings were grown at three different nurseries: University of Idaho (46°44’N), Landing (50°17’N) and Little Forestry (54°00’N) and planted in a randomized single tree interlocking block design in three common gardens at Sandpoint, ID (48°13’N), Skimikin, BC (50°45’N) and Red Rock, BC (53°45’N). Results indicate that variation in the timing of bud flush is a complex interaction among local genetic characteristics and environmental conditions of the growing site. Birch bud flush followed a general geographic trend where provenances at the southern common garden (Sandpoint) required less time (Day of Year, DoY) and fewer growing degree days (GDD) compared to central (Skimikin) and northern (Red Rock) common gardens. Although there were significant differences in the timing of bud flush among provenances along an elevational gradient, none of the regions showed the expected linear elevational cline, trends were inconsistent. Further, birch bud flush was significantly influenced by nursery displacement effects in the initial year of establishment but disappeared within three years. These results provide an opportunity to characterize bud flush phenology of paper birch and would be useful for improving operational paper birch seed transfer programs in BC.


Betula papyrifera, Common Garden, Elevational Cline, Growing Degree Day (GDD), Day Of Year (DoY), Nursery Carry Over Effect, Provenance Trial, Seed-transfer

Authors’ address

Amalesh Dhar
Nicole Balliet
Christopher DB Hawkins
Mixedwood Ecology and Management Program, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, V2N 4Z9 Prince George, BC (Canada)
Amalesh Dhar
University of British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC (Canada)
Christopher DB Hawkins
Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College, Whitehorse, YT (Canada)
Michael R Carlson
Vicky G Berger
Kalamalka Research Station, BC Ministry of Forests and Range, 3401 Reservoir Road, Vernon, BC (Canada)
Ronald Mahoney
Department of Forest Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID (USA)

Corresponding author

Amalesh Dhar


Dhar A, Balliet N, Hawkins CDB, Carlson MR, Berger VG, Mahoney R (2015). Bud flush phenology and nursery carryover effect of paper birch provenances. iForest 8: 809-817. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1367-008

Academic Editor

Andrea Piotti

Paper history

Received: Jun 03, 2014
Accepted: Mar 16, 2015

First online: May 19, 2015
Publication Date: Dec 01, 2015
Publication Time: 2.13 months

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