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Leaf Area, Stemwood Growth, and Nutrition Relationships in Loblolly Pine

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The relationships among loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) stand leaf area index (LAD, stemwood volume growth (m³/ha/yr), and growth efficiency (m³ stemwood/ha/yr/LAI) were examined in three nitrogen (N) by phosphorus (P) fertilization field trials. Prior to fertilization, stocking levels and nitrogen limitations varied for the three stands. LAI increased significantly (up to 60%) following N fertilization on the two N deficient stands. Phosphorus additions did not affect LAI. Stemwood growth was positively and linearly related to LAI across treatments and stands. Variations in LAI across stands reflected the differences in stocking and N availability. On average, a unit of LAI produced 7.3 m³ stemwood/ha/yr. Growth efficiency was not affected by fertilization on two of the three stands. A decrease in growth efficiency at a projected LAI above 3.5 resulted from an asymptotic relationship between stemwood growth and LAI on a stand that was fully stocked and highly responsive to N fertilization. The use of LAI as an index of stocking is proposed because LAI integrates tree size, stand density, and site resource supply. In addition, it is proposed that the deviation of a stand's current LAI from the maximum supportable LAI based on fixed site factors (e.g., water, temperature) may provide a good measure of a stand's potential responsiveness to fertilization. For. Sci. 34(3):547-563.
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Keywords: Pinus taeda; growth efficiency; nitrogen; site occupancy; stocking

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Director, North Carolina State Forest Nutrition Cooperative, Dept. of Forestry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8002

Publication date: 1988-09-01

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    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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