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Structure and Growth of 40-Year-Old Unthinned Loblolly Pine Planted at Three Spacings in South-Central Tennessee

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In 1958, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) was planted at three spacings (6 × 6, 9 × 9, and 12 × 12 ft) on a nearly level, well-drained bottom of a cove on the Eastern Highland Rim in south-central Tennessee. This report is a review and analysis since establishment, but particularly at ages 11, 20, 25, 30, and 40 years. Stand characteristics presented are survival, diameter distribution, basal area, height, site index, live crown ratio, and merchantable cubic volume. Mean annual increment culminated between ages 25 and 30 years at all spacings, but it remained about 200 ft3 ac−1 year−1 at the 9 × 9 and 12 × 12 ft spacings at age 40, decreasing to 160 ft3 ac−1 year−1 for the 6 × 6 ft spacing. Relative harvest value was greatly affected by initial spacing, largely because of substantial increase in sawlogs with wider spacing. At age 40, harvest value was an estimated 80% greater for the 12 × 12 compared with the 6 × 6 ft spacing. Results from this study suggest that spacings greater than 9 × 9 will result in maximizing stand volume and stand harvest value for loblolly pine. A conservative site index of 63 ft (base plantation age 25) for old-field loblolly pine plantations will be tentatively assigned to Landtype 21 in the land classification guide for the Eastern Highland Rim (Smalley 1983). These results provide one of the few published estimates of loblolly pine productivity for this physiographic region.
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Keywords: Eastern Highland Rim; productivity; site; species conversion; yield

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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