Title: The Brazil Eucalyptus Potential Productivity Project: Influence of water, nutrients and stand uniformity on wood production
Author: Stape, Jose Luiz; Binkley, Dan; Ryan, Michael G.; Fonseca, Sebastiao; Loos, Rodolfo A.; Takahashi, Ernesto N.; Silva, Claudio R.; Silva, Sergio R.; Hakamada, Rodrigo E.; Ferreira, Jose Mario de A.; Lima, Augusto M. N.; Gava, Jose Luiz; Leite, Fernado P.; Andrade, Helder B.; Alves, Jacyr M.; Silva, Gualter G. C.; Azevedo, Moises R.
Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 259: 1684-1694.
Description: We examined the potential growth of clonal Eucalyptus plantations at eight locations across a 1000+ km gradient in Brazil by manipulating the supplies of nutrients and water, and altering the uniformity of tree sizes within plots. With no fertilization or irrigation, mean annual increments of stem wood were about 28% lower (16.2 Mg ha-1 yr-1, about 33 m3 ha-1 yr-1) than yields achieved with current operational rates of fertilization (22.6 Mg ha-1 yr-1, about 46 m3 ha-1 yr-1). Fertilization beyond current operational rates did not increase growth, whereas irrigation raised growth by about 30% (to 30.6 Mg ha-1 yr-1, about 62 m3 ha-1 yr-1). The potential biological productivity (current annual increment) of the plantations was about one-third greater than these values, if based only on the period after achieving full canopies. The biological potential productivity was even greater if based only on the full-canopy period during the wet season, indicating that the maximum biological productivity across the sites (with irrigation, during the wet season) would be about 42 Mg ha-1 yr-1 (83 m3 ha-1 yr-1). Stands with uniform structure (trees in plots planted in a single day) showed 13% greater growth than stands with higher heterogeneity of tree sizes (owing to a staggered planting time of up to 80 days). Higher water supply increased growth and also delayed by about 1 year the point where current annual increment and mean annual increment intersected, indicating opportunities for lengthening rotations for more productive treatments as well as the influence of year-to-year climate variations on optimal rotations periods. The growth response to treatments after canopy closure (mid-rotation) related well with full-rotation responses, offering an early opportunity for estimating whole-rotation yields. These results underscore the importance of resource supply, the efficiency of resource use, and stand uniformity in setting the bounds for productivity, and provide a baseline for evaluating the productivity achieved in operational plantations. The BEPP Project showed that water supply is the key resource determining levels of plantation productivity in Brazil. Future collaboration between scientists working on silviculture and genetics should lead to new insights on the mechanisms connecting water and growth, leading to improved matching of sites, clones, and silviculture.
Keywords: Eucalyptus production, forest irrigation, age-related decline, geographic gradient, tropical plantation silviculture
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Stape, Jose Luiz; Binkley, Dan; Ryan, Michael G.; Fonseca, Sebastiao; Loos, Rodolfo A.; Takahashi, Ernesto N.; Silva, Claudio R.; Silva, Sergio R.; Hakamada, Rodrigo E.; Ferreira, Jose Mario de A.; Lima, Augusto M. N.; Gava, Jose Luiz; Leite, Fernado P.; Andrade, Helder B.; Alves, Jacyr M.; Silva, Gualter G. C.; Azevedo, Moises R. 2010. The Brazil Eucalyptus Potential Productivity Project: Influence of water, nutrients and stand uniformity on wood production. Forest Ecology and Management. 259: 1684-1694.
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