There is an urgent need for a coordinated and systematic approach to the in situ conservation of the genetic resources of commercially important forest tree species in the Central Hardwoods. Effective in situ management of genetic resources would benefit from clear guidelines for how many adult trees can be harvested with minimal impact on allelic diversity. We are constructing a computer model for this purpose, and present preliminary results based upon replicate harvests of a virtual forest stand consisting of 200 adult trees. Our model explores how much regeneration is needed so that there is no more than a 10 percent risk of retaining less than 90 percent of the original allelic diversity. In the absence of regeneration, up to 55 percent of the adult trees can be harvested without exceeding the 10 percent risk level. At higher harvest intensities, locally-derived regeneration is needed to replace the alleles removed from the adult population. When all 200 adult trees are harvested, the 10 percent risk level is not exceeded if there are at least 116 regenerants, provided that these are derived from pre-harvest random mating among the adults. In the presence of substantial pollen flow from a genetically differentiated outside pollen source (e.g., 10-20 percent pollen flow), the minimum amount of regeneration needed is reduced. This indicates that outside pollen can be more efficient, relative to pollen from within the stand, at replacing alleles lost from the adult population.

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