Silver birch common garden experiment

In this collaborative research between Plant Ecophysiology Group and Animal Ecology Group in University of Eastern Finland and Natural Resources Institute Finland (former Finnish Forest Research Institute), we  study acclimation capacity of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) in a multi-site common garden setup. Three sites (in Southern, Central and Northern Finland) were establish during summer 2010 and studied intensively until summer 2015 (five years).  The aim is to survey geographical and genetic variance of silver birch. 

The experiment is the first common garden trial with silver birch where clonal micropropagated replicates from naturally regenerated stands is usedMolecular, genetic and ecophysiological methods are utilized to investigate acclimation mechanisms of different birch populations to climatic constrains, warming and abiotic/biotic stresses. 

We work together with Animal Ecology Group to monitor insect herbivory, especially damage intensity and herbivore communities. Global warming is predicted to increase abundances of herbivorous insects and create shifts in the distributions of species to higher latitudes. This will increase  intensity of herbivory at northern latitudes which may pose a threat to the existence and regeneration of boreal forests in the future.

The results from this study can be used in evaluating the possibilities of provenance transfers to increase the adaptability of planted forests to projected global warming.

Metabolite analyses are done in the Metabolomics Laboratory and spectral characteristics are studied in the Spectromics laboratory.

Six birch provenances (•) at different latititudes (°N) and three common garden sites (▪) in Southern, Central and Northern Finland.


This project is funded by University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Strategic funding, 2011-2013 (-2015): Changing climate and biological interactions related to forests (CABI)

This is a collaboration project between Theme 1, Adaptation process of forest trees to climate change, WP 1.1 Common garden study and Theme 2, Species interactions in forest ecosystems, WP 2.1 Direct global warming and plant mediated effects on herbivores