Assessment of beech scale resistance in full- and half-sibling American beech families
A beech bark disease infested American beech tree (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) and two uninfested trees were selected in a mature natural stand in Michigan, USA, and mated to form two full-sib families for evaluating the inheritance of resistance to beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisuga Lind.), the insect element of beech bark disease. Four half-sib families from both infested and uninfested trees were also evaluated for resistance. Using an artificial infestation technique, adult and egg count data were collected over 2 years and analyzed with generalized linear mixed methods to account for nonnormal distributions of the response variables. A significant effect for family was found for each variable. Family least squares means were computed as a measure of resistance and repeatabilities were calculated to provide an upper limit estimate of broad-sense heritability. The two families that ranked highest for resistance were the full-sib family from two uninfested parents and the half-sib family from a stand where all diseased trees had been removed. Together, the results suggest that selection and breeding may be an effective means to improve populations for artificial regeneration, and silvicultural treatments may provide an effective management option for mitigating beech bark disease through managing the genetic composition of natural regeneration.