The adaptation of the annual cycle of development of boreal and temperate trees to climatic conditions has been seen as a result of stabilizing selection caused by two opposite driving forces of natural selection, i.e. the tolerance of unfavorable conditions during the frost exposed season (survival adaptation) and the effective use of growth resources during the growing season (capacity adaptation). In this study, two theories of the effects of climate on the adaptation of the timing of bud burst of trees were evaluated. This was done with computer simulations by applying a temperature sum model for predicting the timing of bud burst of different Norway spruce genotypes on the basis of air temperature data from various climatic conditions. High geographical variation in the temperature response of bud burst, typical for Norway spruce, was included in the theoretical analyses. The average timing of bud burst and the corresponding risk of occurrence of damaging frost during the susceptible period after bud burst were calculated for each genotype in each climate. Two contrasting theories of the stabilizing selection were evaluated, i.e. the overall adaptedness of each genotype was evaluated either 1) by assuming a fixed threshold for the risk of frost damage, or 2) by assuming a tradeoff between the risk of frost damage and the length of the growing season. The tradeoff assumption produced predictions of between provenance variation in bud burst which correspond more closely with empirical observations available in literature, compared to the fixed threshold assumption.
Leinonen, I., & Hänninen, H. (2002). Adaptation of the timing of bud burst of Norway spruce to temperate and boreal climates. Silva Fennica, 36(3), 695–701. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.534