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

Nguyen, Huong, Firn, Jennifer, Lamb, David and Herbohn, John (2014) Wood density: a tool to find complementary species for the design of mixed species plantations. Forest Ecology and Management, 334 106-113. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.08.022

Author Nguyen, Huong
Firn, Jennifer
Lamb, David
Herbohn, John
Title Wood density: a tool to find complementary species for the design of mixed species plantations
Journal name Forest Ecology and Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-1127
Publication date 2014-12-15
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.08.022
Open Access Status
Volume 334
Start page 106
End page 113
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted 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.
Keyword Functional traits
Shade tolerance
Native species
Small-scale forestry
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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