Wood density : a tool to find complementary species for the design of mixed species plantations

Nguyen, Huong, Firn, Jennifer, Lamb, David, & Herbohn, John (2014) Wood density : a tool to find complementary species for the design of mixed species plantations. Forest Ecology and Management, 334, pp. 106-113.

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Abstract

The successful establishment and growth of mixed-species forest plantations requires that complementary or facilitatory species be identified. This can be difficult in many tropical areas because the growth characteristics of endemic species are often unknown, particularly when grown at potentially higher densities in plantations than in natural forests. Here, we investigate whether wood density is a useful and readily accessible trait for choosing complementary species for mixed species plantations. Wood density represents the carbon investment per unit volume of stem with a trade-off generally found between fast (low wood density) and slow (high wood density) growing species. To do this, we use data collected from 18 highly diverse mixed species plantations (4–23 mostly native species) aged from 6 to 11 years at the time of data collection located on Leyte Island, Philippines. We found significant negative correlations between wood densities and the height of the most abundant species, as well as with measures of overall stand growth and tree diameter size distribution.

Not only do species with denser woods have slower growth rates, but also mixed-species plantations with higher average wood density and higher stem density were also less productive, at least in these young plantations. Similarly, stands with a high diversity in wood densities were less productive. There is growing interest in making greater use of native multi-species mixtures in smallholder and community planting programs in the tropics, and our results show databases of wood density values may help improve their design. In the early development stages of plantations, canopy closure and rapid height growth are usually key silvicultural targets, and wood density values can predict the rapid height development of species. If plantations are being grown for the livelihood of small landholders then the best target is to choose some species with different wood densities. This allows an early harvest of low-wood density species for early income, and will also reduce competition for slower growing trees with higher wood densities for later income generation.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 78755
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Functional traits, Shade tolerance, Native species, Small-scale forestry, Rainforestation, Polycultures
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.08.022
ISSN: 0378-1127
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Forest Ecology and Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Forest Ecology and Management, [VOL 334, (2014)] DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.08.022
Deposited On: 18 Nov 2014 23:55
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2014 21:40

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