Table_2_Generating Douglas-fir Breeding Value Estimates Using Airborne Laser Scanning Derived Height and Crown Metrics.DOCX
Progeny test trials in British Columbia are essential in assessing the genetic performance via the prediction of breeding values (BVs) for target phenotypes of parent trees and their offspring. Accurate and timely collection of phenotypic data is critical for estimating BVs with confidence. Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data have been used to measure tree height and structure across a wide range of species, ages and environments globally. Here, we analyzed a Coastal Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.)] progeny test trial located in British Columbia, Canada, using individual tree high-density Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) metrics and traditional ground-based phenotypic observations. Narrow-sense heritability, genetic correlations, and BVs were estimated using pedigree-based single and multi-trait linear models for 43 traits. Comparisons of genetic parameter estimates between ALS metrics and traditional ground-based measures and single- and multi-trait models were conducted based on the accuracy and precision of the estimates. BVs were estimated for two ALS models (ALSCAN and ALSACC) representing two model-building approaches and compared to a baseline model using field-measured traits. The ALSCAN model used metrics reflecting aspects of vertical distribution of biomass within trees, while ALSACC represented the most statistically accurate model. We report that the accuracy of both the ALSCAN (0.8239) and ALSACC (0.8254) model-derived BVs for mature tree height is a suitable proxy for ground-based mature tree height BVs (0.8316). Given the cost efficiency of ALS, forest geneticists should explore this technology as a viable tool to increase breeding programs’ overall efficiency and cost savings.