Differences in growth and gas exchange between southern and northern provenances of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in northern Europe
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CitationTenkanen, A. Keski-Saari, S. Salojärvi, J. Oksanen, E. Keinänen, M. Kontunen-Soppela, S. (2020). Differences in growth and gas exchange between southern and northern provenances of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in northern Europe. Tree physiology, 40 (2) , 198-214. 10.1093/treephys/tpz124.
Due to its ubiquity across northern latitudes, silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is an attractive model species for studying geographical trait variation and acclimation capacity. Six birch provenances from 60 to 67°N across Finland were grown in a common garden and studied for provenance and genotype variation. We looked for differences in height growth, photosynthetic gas exchange and chlorophyll content index (CCI) and compared the gas exchange of early and late leaves on short and long shoots, respectively. The provenances stratified into southern and northern groups. Northern provenances attained less height growth increment and had higher stomatal conductance (gs) and lower intrinsic water-use efficiency (WUE, Anet/gs) than southern provenances, whereas net photosynthesis (Anet) or CCI did not show clear grouping. Short shoot leaves had lower gs and higher WUE than long shoot leaves in all provenances, but there was no difference in Anet between shoot types. The separation of the provenances into two groups according to their physiological responses might reflect the evolutionary history of B. pendula. Latitudinal differences in gas exchange and water use traits can have plausible consequences for global carbon and water fluxes in a warming climate.