The impact of forest management on genetic diversity and mating was examined in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). Ten beech stands located in Europe were studied in pair-wise plots, differing in management intensity. The stands were genotyped with four highly polymorphic microsatellite loci. Comparison for genetic diversity measures between the stands with limited management and the high management-intensity stands (mostly shelter wood system) revealed no significant differences for allelic richness (A), effective number of alleles (Ae), number of rare alleles (Arare), neither for observed (Ho) nor expected heterozygosity (He). In all stands a significant excess of homozygotes was found, which is in agreement with previous isozyme publications. However, the increase in the inbreeding coefficient (Fis) in the stands with limited management was significantly higher than in the highly managed stands. Expectedly a low, but significant, differentiation among all stands was found (Fst=0.058) which still reveals a clear geographic structure. The results indicate that the shelter wood system has no or minimum impact on the genetic diversity in European beech.
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