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A Comparison of Growth and Stand Structural Characteristics in Pure- and Mixed-Family Stands of Loblolly Pine

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Planting a mixture of genotypes in pure species stands has been proposed as a method to mimic advantages associated with mixed-species plantings. Stand-level volume differences between mixed-family and half-sib pure-family plantings, representing divergent ideotypes, were assessed across three spacings in a 21-year-old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) stand. Stand-level volume and individual dbh, height, and stem volume distributions were compared between the pure-family planting and the mixed-family planting. In addition, stand dynamic changes in the mixed-family planting were examined. Overall, no differences in pure-family and mixed-family plantings existed, whereas the two best pure families outperformed the mixed planting by 12% volume at age 21. The two best families have a unique complement of attributes, indicating a production ideotype. The volume differences appear to be due to greater competition causing a bimodal-like growth distribution in individual traits. The dynamics of the mixed-family planting increasingly mimicked single pure-family plots, although stand development was not accelerated to the extent observed in the pure-family plots. Hence, pure-family loblolly pine stand volume was maximized through selection and planting of a few best performing families.
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Keywords: field deployment; ideotype; loblolly pine; stand dynamics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-04-16

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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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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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