Young Stand Growth Modeling for Intensively-Managed Loblolly Pine Plantations in Southeastern U.S.

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Abstract:

Intensively managed loblolly pine stands are often subjected to a variety of silvicultural treatments at time of planting or shortly thereafter. However, most loblolly pine growth-and-yield models predict growth after crown closure has occurred. In this article, we describe the development and implementation of a system of equations designed to simulate growth of loblolly pine before the onset of intraspecific competition. Treatment response functions were also developed for various site preparation, herbaceous weed control, and fertilization practices. These functions modify the baseline model predictions to simulate the effects of treatments on tree growth and stand development. This system was incorporated into the PTAEDA2 growth-and-yield simulator to make growth projections from time of planting through rotation age for intensively managed stands of loblolly pine in the southeastern United States. Growth simulations specifying either bedding or disking showed increases in volume growth for both treatments. The shear-and-pile site-preparation method reduced growth rates slightly. Volume growth responses to herbaceous weed control were positive, with magnitude of increase largely depending on duration of treatment. Increases in volume attributable to fertilization at planting were related to types of element applied. The largest predicted response was for phosphorus fertilization, whereas application of potassium was the least effective fertilization treatment. Site preparation, weed control, and fertilization treatment combinations produced additional volume gains when compared to single treatments, while maintaining predicted values that are within biological limits for loblolly pine growth. Levels of response to treatments are consistent with results from published studies on intensive management practices. The addition of the precompetitive growth system did not significantly affect the predictive behavior of the PTAEDA2 model for untreated stands. FOR. SCI. 50(6):823–835.

Keywords: Site preparation; competition control; environmental management; fertilization; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; growth and yield; natural resource management; natural resources; onset of competition

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Forester Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200 Newtown Square PA19073 Phone: (610) 557-4043;, Fax: (610) 557-4250, Email: jameswestfall@fs.fed.us 2: Department Head and University Distinguished Professor Department of Forestry Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 307 Cheatham Hall Blacksburg VA 24061 Phone: (540) 231-6952, Email: burkhart@vt.edu 3: C.A. Schenck Distinguished Professor Department of Forestry North Carolina State University 3108 Jordan Hall Raleigh NC 27695 Phone: (919) 513-4043, Email: lee_allen@ncsu.edu

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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