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Journal Articles Eesti Mets Year : 2022

The Genetics and Dendrochronology of the Larches at Järvselja Centre


The article deals with the genetics and dating of the larches growing at the Järvselja Centre for Learning and Experimental Forestry (N: 58º 16'; E: 27° 19') established by the University of Tartu in 1921 for student practical training needs. Prior to that, the site was owned by Kastre Manor, which founded a manorial forest management district there. The first forester of the manor (1883-1897) was Martin Maurach, who initiated the planting of the first larches there. Two Dunkeld specimens (Larix × marschlinsii) have been morphologically identified among the larches at the Centre. According to dendrologist Aleksei Paivel, the first reports of the approximately 40-year trees date from 1957-1960 [7] or the early 1960s. Their dimensions were as follows: 1) H (height) = 17.5 m, PBH (girth at breast height 1.3 m) = 154 cm; 2) H = 17 m, PBH = 138 cm [7]. The objective of the article, in addition to the morphological approach, was to genetically verify the species of the local larches and to dendrochrologically determine their ages. Altogether, eight larches were examined at Järvselja on 15-16 August 2022 (Figure 1): 1) H = 23.5 m, PBH = 285 cm; 2) H = 27.9 m, PBH = 258 cm; 3) H = 39. 4 m, PBH = 275 cm; 4) H = 37.1 m, PBH = 258 cm; 5) H = 40.6 m, PBH = 276 cm; 6) H = 23.4 m, PBH = 225 cm; 7) H = 21.2 m, PBH = 141 cm; 8) H = 22.4 m, PBH = 230 cm (below 1.3 m because of a branch). They were measured and photographed by the head of the foundation, Chief Forester Tanel Piir. According to dendrologist Heino Kasesalu, who lives at Järvselja, the morphology pointed to two Euro-Japanese larches (Nos. 1 and 2) as well as an old L. kaempferi tree (No. 3-one of Estonia's highest and thickest trees), two L. decidua's (Nos. 4 and 5) and three specimens of L. kaempferi (Nos. 6, 7 and 8). Concerning Nos. 1 and 2, dendrologist professor Endel Laas (1915-2009) wrote in 1967: "Both trees, aged approximately 40 years, are rather similar in appearance, although there are differences in cone shapes as well as other morphological features. A comparison of […….] the morphological features of individual specimens to those described by Beissner-Fitschen [...] in […] would result in the recognition of a very great similarity." [2, 5: 154]. The genetical analysis of the larches was performed on the initiative of L. E. Pâques at the laboratory of Integrated Biology for valorisation of genetic diversity of trees and forests of INRAE (Institut National de Recherche pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement). The methodology was based on the study [1: Acheré, V., et al., 2004], which is also outlined. In 2017, four larches out of the eight at Järvselja were morphologically and genetically identified as Japanese larches (No. 3photo missing; Nos. 6, 7, 8-Photo 4). Their maternal and paternal species was Japanese larch. The remaining four specimens proved problematic due to the absence of a clear pattern for the chloroplastic marker. The larches with Euro-Japanese morphology (Nos. 1 and 2the trees in Photo 1 with young cones and in Photo 2 with old cones) were not typical Dunkeld larches. Similarly, the morphology of the European larches (No. 4photo missing, and No. 5-Photo 3, the highest larch) was not typical. Based on genetical analysis, their maternal species was Japanese larch while the second species was unidentifiable with the markers used. Indeed for the chloroplastic DNA (of male origin) marker, EL is normally distinguished from JL by the presence of a single band at 481 bp while JL has a band at 601 bp (Acheré et al. 2004). For trees 1 and 2, we found not just one band as expected but two, a case we cannot interpret at this stage (revealing an extra species. However, it is in no case a hybrid between EL & JL or in this case between JL & EL. The best scenario would have been first to get and test new samples from these trees just in case to confirm this result, but most probably this would not change the matter. Other trees, such as Nos. 4 and 5, show a similar situation. According to the dendrochronological analysis of 2008 (at the height of 1.3 m), the age of two Euro-Japanese larches (Nos. 1 and 2) could not be correctly determined as the stems were decayed on the inside. Samples could only be obtained from the years 1945-2008 and 1955-2008 (Figures 2 and 3); the trees had probably been planted in the 1920s. A morphological dating of three larches (in the figure, L. kaempferi-No. 6 = No. 1 in the figure and No. 3 = No. 2 and L. decidua-No. 4 = No. 3) (Figure 4) revealed that the younger Japanese larch (No. 6) had probably been planted in 1935 as a 1.3 m-high sapling, the older Japanese larch (No. 3)
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hal-03821248 , version 1 (19-10-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03821248 , version 1


Luc E. Pâques, Alar Laanelaid, Heldur Sander. The Genetics and Dendrochronology of the Larches at Järvselja Centre. Eesti Mets, 2022, 3, pp.60-64. ⟨hal-03821248⟩
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