Comparison of pollen gene flow among four European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) populations characterized by different management regimes

A. Piotti, S. Leonardi, J. Buiteveld, T. Geburek, S. Gerber, K. Kramer, C. Vettori, G.G. Vendramin

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55 Citations (Scopus)


The study of the dispersal capability of a species can provide essential information for the management and conservation of its genetic variability. Comparison of gene flow rates among populations characterized by different management and evolutionary histories allows one to decipher the role of factors such as isolation and tree density on gene movements. We used two paternity analysis approaches and different strategies to handle the possible presence of genotyping errors to obtain robust estimates of pollen flow in four European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) populations from Austria and France. In each country one of the two plots is located in an unmanaged forest; the other plots are managed with a shelterwood system and inside a colonization area (in Austria and France, respectively). The two paternity analysis approaches provided almost identical estimates of gene flow. In general, we found high pollen immigration (~75% of pollen from outside), with the exception of the plot from a highly isolated forest remnant (~50%). In the two unmanaged plots, the average within-population pollen dispersal distances (from 80 to 184¿m) were higher than previously estimated for beech. From the comparison between the Austrian managed and unmanaged plots, that are only 500¿m apart, we found no evidence that either gene flow or reproductive success distributions were significantly altered by forest management. The investigated phenotypic traits (crown area, height, diameter and flowering phenology) were not significantly related with male reproductive success. Shelterwood seems to have an effect on the distribution of within-population pollen dispersal distances. In the managed plot, pollen dispersal distances were shorter, possibly because adult tree density is three-fold (163 versus 57 trees per hectare) with respect to the unmanaged one
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-331
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • pinus-sylvestris l.
  • paternity analysis
  • parentage analysis
  • mating patterns
  • silvicultural practices
  • microsatellite markers
  • habitat fragmentation
  • plant-populations
  • sorbus-torminalis
  • seed dispersal


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