The performance and variability of 110 open-pollinated interior spruce families from the East Kootenays in southeastern British Columbia were investigated at 10 local sites and one site at Red Rock, near Prince George. Twenty years after outplanting, spruce reached an average height, diameter, and stem volume of 354 cm, 51 mm, and 5247 cm 3 , respectively, and demonstrated an exponentially shaped height growth curve. The average survival was 73%, with more than 85% of the mortality occurring during the first three years after outplanting. Differences among test sites were highly significant (p<0.0001) in both growth and survival, and accounted for most of the observed variation. Among family variation in growth and survival was also highly significant. Spruce originated from calcareous soil tended to be superior wherever they were planted, and trees grew significantly faster and survived better at acidic sites regardless of their origin. Genetic differentiation along elevation was strongly clinal, and the performance of the East Kootenay families at Red Rock was excellent. Transferring seed sources more than 230 m up or more than 150 m down in the East Kootenays is not recommended, but East Kootenay materials may be successfully used for reforestation at locations as far as 4 degrees northwards and 7 degrees westwards from their average origin. The results also point to the need for adequate site preparation, and quality stock raising, handling, and planting, as well as controlling weed competition for reforestation success.
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Updated October 24, 2008