Species shade tolerance affects tree basal area growth behaviour in two eucalypt species in thinned and unthinned even-aged monoculture
Glencross, K, West, PW, Nichols, JD 2016, 'Species shade tolerance affects tree basal area growth behaviour in two eucalypt species in thinned and unthinned even-aged monoculture', Australian Forestry.
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Individual tree and stand basal area growth were studied in a thinning experiment established over two sites in subtropical eastern Australia. The experiment compared the less shade tolerant species Eucalyptus dunnii with the more shade tolerant Corymbia citriodora var. variegata, both grown in plantation monoculture. Growth was compared over a 2½−3 year period that immediately followed thinning at 5½−7½ years of age. Towards the end of the growth period, tree crown depths and leaf mass per unit area were measured at one site. Crown depth and leaf mass per area of C. citriodora were greater than of E. dunnii, characteristics consistent with a more shade tolerant species. Gross stand basal area growth of E. dunnii was faster than that of C. citriodora. Individual-tree basal area growth behaviour was consistent with inter-tree competition involving asymmetric competition for light. Opening the stand by thinning reduced inter-tree competition to near zero. In unthinned control stands, smaller, more shaded trees of C. citriodora were better able to retain their basal area growth rates than those of E. dunniiin the face of competition. In consequence, the more shade tolerant C. citriodoradeveloped a more evenly spread frequency distribution of tree diameters than less shade tolerant E. dunnii. This would have consequences for the assortment of log sizes that would be available ultimately from monocultures of the two species.