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The Selective Use of Plant Provenances – A Potential Tool in Climate Change Adaptation?

Daniel Thiel (01/2009)

Betreuer: Carl Beierkuhnlein, Jürgen Kreyling




Climate change will alter worldwide growth conditions significantly. Therefore intraspecific variability, i.e. ecotypes or provenances might play an important role in preparing ecosystems for future changes and to secure their productivity.

Provenance trials have a long tradition in forestry. However there are hardly any experiments with non-tree species. For this study, 46 provenances of Arrhenatherum elatius were planted in Bayreuth and were exposed to climatic extreme events. Especially individuals cultivated under ambient conditions show significant differences in biomass production between the provenances.

However the bioclimatic parameters at the points of origin of the provenances provide only a negligible explanation for the differences in biomass production. Climatic extreme events seem to level out these differences. We conclude that a random selection of provenances might be insufficient to identify origins that are adapted to certain, future conditions. Further experiments therefore should select provenances systematically from regions with climatic conditions similar to the projected future conditions in the target region.

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