iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Revealing the physiological basis of forester’s choice of poplar clones (Populus spp.)

Sebastián Martín Bonnin (1)   , Javier Alejandro Alvarez (1), Laura Inés Faustino (1), Corina Graciano (2-3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 156-164 (2024)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor4433-017
Published: Jun 14, 2024 - Copyright © 2024 SISEF

Research Articles

Poplar plantations cover 31.4 million ha around the world and supply timber for paper, sawn wood and other wood-based products. In each region where poplars are planted, it is possible to identify “model clones” which are massively adopted by foresters. Improving the rationale of clone selection in breeding programs requires a comprehensive understanding of the physiological traits that explain the differences in genotypes growth. Moreover, given that growth is related to the use of resources (water, light and nutrients) we also need to determine which morphological and physiological traits explain the model condition of most widespread clones. A controlled-condition study was carried out to evaluate eight Populus deltoides and two Populus × canadensis clones, including the model Populus deltoides €˜Australiano 129/60’. For each clone, physiological and morphological traits related to biomass partitioning (roots, stem and leaf dry mass), growth (height, diameter), light use (leaf area duration, leaf size, net photosynthetic rate), water use (stem hydraulic conductivity, water consumption) and nutrient use (nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations) were measured. High variability in the physiology and morphology was observed among clones, and similar and contrasting clones in relation to the model clone were identified. Similarities among clones varied depending on the characteristic being evaluated at the time-water use, light use or nutrient use. The results showed that variability not only relates to visible phenotype, but also to functionality. This information is significant since the breeding programs can evaluate non-traditional traits and select genotypes which are similar or complementary to the model clone. The characterization of model clones is key for breeding programs which seek new candidates taking into account the use of water, nutrients and light. It is also important because it helps explain why foresters prefer one clone over others. Knowledge about functional variability within clones of the same species enables foresters to conduct more intelligent and site-specific silviculture and to optimize the genotype selection in breeding programs.


Salicaceae, Physiology, Functional Traits, Model Clones, Breeding Program

Authors’ address

Sebastián Martín Bonnin 0000-0002-1728-0921
Javier Alejandro Alvarez
Laura Inés Faustino 0000-0002-5118-3607
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Delta del Paraná, Río Paraná de las Palmas y Canal Laurentino Comas, 4ta Sección de Islas, 2802 Campana, Provincia de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Corina Graciano 0000-0003-0803-4128
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Instituto de Fisiología Vegetal (INFIVE), Diagonal 113 y calle 61, 1900 La Plata, Provincia de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Corina Graciano 0000-0003-0803-4128
Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias y Forestales, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Avenida 60 y 118, 1900 La Plata, Provincia de Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Corresponding author

Sebastián Martín Bonnin


Bonnin SM, Alvarez JA, Faustino LI, Graciano C (2024). Revealing the physiological basis of forester’s choice of poplar clones (Populus spp.). iForest 17: 156-164. - doi: 10.3832/ifor4433-017

Academic Editor

Andrea Cutini

Paper history

Received: Jul 21, 2023
Accepted: Feb 27, 2024

First online: Jun 14, 2024
Publication Date: Jun 30, 2024
Publication Time: 3.60 months

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