Introduction and early evaluation of species and provenances of spruce.
Early evaluation experiments in twenty-four provenances of Picea abies, P. sitchensis, P. glauca, P. mariana, P. likiangensis (Franch) Pritz var. balfouriana (Rehd. et Wils.) Hillier ex Slavin and P. crassifolia were carried out. The results showed that there existed very significant or significant differences in most of growth and lateral branch traits among species and provenances of young forests, and the average variance component of species and provenances accounted for 32.47% and 23.97% of total variance component respectively, all of which indicated that there were high genetic variations among species and provenances. Moreover, there was a extremely and obviously positive relationship between growth and lateral branch characteristics by correlation analysis, especially the plant height and lateral branch traits, their average value of correlation coefficients was 0.825 9. As a result of this research, six excellent provenances of spruce were selected tentatively on the basis of plant height. All of these superior provenances had distinct predominance in growth, their average values of plant height, total number of lateral branches and the number of newest lateral branches were 117.07 cm, 57.75 and 12.46, respectively, which were 48.54%, 56.46% and 63.30% higher than the overall means of contrast spruce provenances.