Genetic parameters of growth, and resistance to the shoot borer, in young clones of the tree Cedrela odorata (Meliaceae)
Damage by Hypsipyla grandella Zeller restricts the success of plantations of Cedrela odorata. The most critical and vulnerable infection period by H. grandella is during the first three years. The aim was to estimate the expected genetic gain for the selection of clones of fast growth and resistant to the attack by this insect. A trial with 40 clones produced by grafting was planted in Veracruz, Mexico. Heritability, genetic correlations and genetic gain of clones were estimated with data at two years-old. The survival rate of the trial was of 97 % (466 living ramets in total), 2.84 m in total high and 2.32 cm of average normal diameter. Aditionally, 9.9 % of the ramets did not present attacks, indication of evasion, and 0.6 percent without response to attack. With response to attack 89.5 % of the ramets (several degrees of tolerance): 29 % with a single shoot, 14.2 % with several shoots and 46.3 % with a dominant shoot of several shoots formed. The clonal heritability of normal diameter, height, volume, stem taper index, number of attacks and response to the attack was H2c = 0.81, 0.80, 0.81, 0.61, 0.34, and 0.26. The genetic correlations between height, diameter and volume were ≥ 0.95, and the correlation of the volume with the incidence and the response to the attack was rg = -0.31 and rg = 0.62, that is a decrease in number of attacks and moderate increase in tolerance. With a selection intensity of 10 %, selecting the four clones with higher volume will produce a genetic gain of 82 % for volume, a decrease of 10.9 % of number of attacks and 6.3 % of better recovery from damage; this is more tolerance to the insect attack. The genetic gain justifies the use of the best clones in commercial plantations in Veracruz, Mexico.