Impact of competition on the early growth and physiological responses of potential short-rotation forestry species in Ireland
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CitationForeman, Susie. Impact of competition on the early growth and physiological responses of potential short-rotation forestry species in Ireland. University College Dublin, 2019
AbstractThe impact of planting density on the growth and physiological response of three potential short rotation forestry species, shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens (Deane & Maiden) Maiden), Italian alder (Alnus cordata (Loisel.) Duby) and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carrière) were investigated in this study over a four-year period. The three species were planted in a field trial in Co. Wexford. The trial was laid down as a randomised block design containing four planting densities (1,333 – 40,000 stems ha-1) per species. Height, stem diameter, branch length, diameter and quantity, crown height, along with shade leaf only determinations of leaf area and leaf dry weight, chlorophyll concentration (Chleaf) and photosynthesis rates (PN) were measured periodically over the 4-year period. E. nitens trees produced the shallowest live crown of the three species, which decreased as planting density increased. Chleaf declined as planting density increased, but PN remained the same. E. nitens produced the greatest volume and biomass per ha-1 of the three species at the end of four years growth. Height increased and stem diameter decreased as planting density increased in A. cordata, although stem volume remained about the same. However, planting density did not affect crown volume or Chleaf in A. cordata, but PN declined as density increased. Trees of P. sitchensis grew more slowly than those of the other species during the four-year period, but it produced the densest crown at all planting densities. Competition effects were apparent at leaf level in P. sitchensis. Planting density did not affect the above-ground biomass in A. cordata or P. sitchensis, which was similar for the two species and was lower than that recorded for E. nitens. Of the three species examined, E. nitens was the most productive at all planting densities.
FunderDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
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