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ŠUMARSKI LIST 3-4/2014 str. 30     <-- 30 -->        PDF

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A morphometric analysis of the leaf traits of Macedonian Oak (Q. trojana) in its north-westernmost range was conducted, including in total 130 individuals from 13 natural populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The purpose of the study was to use the analysis of variance for the morphological characteristics of leaves from small and markedly fragmented populations to determine if there are any patterns of population differentiation and detect the morphological characteristics associated with such differentiation.
The Principal Components Analysis (PCA) did not identify the existence of discrete groups but rather of a continuous gradient in the variation of morphological characteristics and the absence of geographical population patterns. The morphological characteristics most closely related to population differences displayed relatively low to moderate values with PCs whose maximum correlation values were ≤ 0.554. The results of a cluster analysis conformed to the PCA results, indicating two population groups, which equally display no geographical pattern. The results of descriptive and univariate statistics pointed to marked variability of morphological leaf characteristic between populations and the presence of significant differences among individuals.
Finally, it should be noted that the study of populations of Macedonian Oak in its north-westernmost range identified a high degree of variability in the morphological leaf characteristics studied, and indicate that many different factors impact on the patterns of the small and fragmented populations of this species in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Further research on a larger sample, using molecular markers, will contribute to a better and more accurate knowledge of Macedonian Oak variability in this part of its natural range.
Since this is a sub-Mediterranean region, and Macedonian Oak is a very important tree species from ecological point of view, thus conservation by in situ method in all open and preserved areas is recommended, with particular attention to the origin of the forest reproductive material for reintroduction to degraded habitats, as suggested by the results obtained.
KEY WORDS: Quercus trojana, leaf morphology, inter- and intrapopulation variability.