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Aboveground Phenology in North Florida Slash Pine Plantations

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Abstract:

Seasonality of aboveground growth and reproduction, its relationship to environmental conditions, and the composition and development of the understory were studied for 2 years on young and mature slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii Engelm) plantations in north Florida. Despite relatively mild environmental conditions year-round, tree and understory growth were strongly unimodal, peaking in late spring-early summer when air and soil temperatures and precipitation were highest. Length of spring shoots in pines appeared to be directly related to soil temperature and precipitation of the previous fall-winter when winter buds were forming. Presence of summer shoots appeared to be dependent upon the environmental conditions of the current growing season, age of the tree, and branch position in the canopy. Site preparation practices, notably chopping and burning, in part dictated the species composition and development of the understory until about midrotation, at which time shading and forest floor development became more important. Fine root studies reflected the same compositional changes as seen above ground. Although aboveground understory biomass was a small fraction of pine biomass by midrotation, pine and understory fine root biomass and foliar turnover rates were comparable. Forest Sci. 32:779-788.

Keywords: Pinus elliottii; plantation understory conditions

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Publication date: September 1, 1986

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