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The pine reproductive process in temperate and tropical regions

Abstract

Our knowledge of the pine reproductive process is confined to the developmental stages and time relations in a particular species. Lacking in the literature is a comparative analysis from a broader perspective such as pines from temperate versus tropical regions. Also, important information that may have beneficial implications for pine breeding and management purposes may be missed by going with a single generalized reproductive cycle model which is usually derived from well-studied northern temperate species. Detailed developmental analysis of the reproductive process is necessary, particularly for tropical pines where information is limited. Most pines undergo a reproductive cycle that spans three calendar years with two dormant periods. In temperate pines, many of the stages that are initiated by fall generally come to a halt during the winter and development resumes in spring of the following year. In tropical pines, reproductive development appears to be generally a continuous process characterized by a gradual rate of development with indistinct first dormant period. The distinct first dormant period in north temperate pines serves to synchronize pollen release and seed-cone receptivity which results in higher pollination success and seed production. Tropical pines exhibit asynchrony in pollen release and thus has extended pollination period. Relatively less pollen are available which results in lower pollination success and seed set. Interestingly, since asynchrony may enhance cross-pollination, tropical pines might benefit from this through the capture of genetic diversity. The length of the second dormant period is generally the same in temperate and tropical pines which indicates strong genetic control.

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Acknowledgments

The author is very grateful for the numerous and invaluable contributions of Dr. John N. Owens to the content of this paper. The critical reviews and suggestions by the Guest Editors, Drs. William Dvorak and Gary Hodge, including the anonymous reviewers, are also highly appreciated.

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Correspondence to Danilo D. Fernando.

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Fernando, D.D. The pine reproductive process in temperate and tropical regions. New Forests 45, 333–352 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-013-9403-7

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Keywords

  • Conifers
  • Dormancy
  • Fertilization
  • Polyembryony
  • Reproduction
  • Synchronization