Long-lived tree species and genetic diversity

Based on a long-term genetic experiment on Pinus ponderosa in western Montana, a study finds that fast-growing families of P. ponderosa had higher survival rates than slow-growing families prior to an outbreak of the herbivorous mountain pine beetle, but that the fast-growing families had lower survival rates than slow-growing families after the outbreak, suggesting a mechanism for the maintenance of genetic diversity in the long-lived species.

Article #17-00032: “Insect outbreak shifts the direction of selection from fast to slow growth rates in the long-lived conifer Pinus ponderosa,” by Raul de la Mata, Sharon Hood, and Anna Sala.