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Needlefall, Canopy Light Interception, and Productivity of Young Intensively Managed Slash and Loblolly Pine Stands

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Canopy dynamics, light interception, and productivity of 6-yr-old slash (Pinus elliottii vat. elliottii Engelm.) and loblolly pine (P. taeda L.) were investigated using a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experiment (species, annual fertilization, sustained weed control) in north central Florida. The strong nutritional gradient imposed by the cultural treatments significantly accelerated canopy development. Needlefall (NF) mass for the weed control + fertilization treatments was increased over the checks by about 400% (0.8 to 4.0 Mg ha-1) for slash pine and 1050% (from 0.4 to 4.6 Mg ha-1) for loblolly pine. Levels of annual NF were strongly correlated (r² > 0.90) with stand basal area, and cumulative NF through time was successfully modeled using a logistic function. Cultural treatments had no significant effect on needle longevity or temporal NF patterns; however, large treatment related responses in leaf area index (LAI; all-sided) were apparent for both species (slash pine = 1.5 to 7.2 m² m-2 loblolly pine = 1.0 to 10.6 m² m-2). Mean annual light interception (photosynthetically active radiation) for the check and combination treatments paralleled LAI responses and ranged from 28 to 74% for slash pine and 22 to 81% for loblolly pine. Significant species differences in aboveground biomass production (loblolly pine = 3.1 to 16.0 Mg ha-1 yr-1; slash pine = 3.5 to 8.0 Mg ha-1 yr-1) were principally due to greater LAI (reflecting differences in specific leaf area and branch structure) and higher light use efficiency (0.81 vs. 0.47 g MJ-1) of loblolly pine. For. Sci. 37(5):1298-1313.

Keywords: Biomass; P. taeda; Pinus elliottii; competition; fertilization; leaf area index; light use efficiency; weed control

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Forestry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0303

Publication date: 1991-11-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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