Regeneration of commercial tree species following silvicultural treatments in a moist tropical forest
Peña-Clarosa, M, Peters, EM, Justiniano, MJ, Bongers, F, Blate, GM, Frederickson, TS & Putz, FE 2008, 'Regeneration of commercial tree species following silvicultural treatments in a moist tropical forest', vol. 255, no. 3-4.
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Silvicultural treatments are generally performed to improve yields of commercially valuable tree species by increasing their recruitment and growth rates. In this study we analyze the effects of three different sets of silvicultural treatments on the densities and growth rates of seedlings, saplings and poles of 23 commercial tree species in a moist tropical forest in Bolivia. The treatments vary in intensity of logging and silviculture application, and are compared to a control treatment. Silvicultural treatments applied were liberation of future crop trees from lianas and neighboring competing trees, soil scarification and stand refinements. Treatments were applied to twelve 27-ha plots. In each plot 4 transects were established to assess the density and growth of the regeneration of the 23 commercial species. Effects were measured 1 and 4 years after treatment application and were described using three ecological guilds; shade-tolerant species, partially shade-tolerant species, and long-lived pioneers. We found that the intensive silviculture treatment had the largest impact on the density and growth rates of the regeneration of the commercial species. Overall, the density of regeneration of the commercial species was higher in the control treatment than in the logged treatments 1 year after treatment application, but 3 years later these differences had disappeared. Nevertheless, there were marked shifts in densities when different size classes were considered. In nearly all treatments, the number seedlings decreased over time, while the number of saplings and poles increased. Overall shade-tolerant species were more abundant than the other two ecological guilds. Treatment had a positive effect on density only for long-lived pioneers. Growth of commercial tree regeneration was strongly affected by treatment and was highest in the intensive silvicultural treatment plots where growth of long-lived pioneers was twice that of shade-tolerant species and partial shade-tolerant species. Apart from silvicultural treatments and ecological guild, light availability had the strongest effect on growth rates. These results show that different silvicultural treatments have different effects on the regeneration of commercial tree species and that ecological guilds-specific treatments should be considered in management plans for sustainable timber production in tropical lowland forests.