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Forests 2016, 7(11), 289; doi:10.3390/f7110289

Oak Group Planting Produces a Higher Number of Future Crop Trees, with Better Spatial Distribution than Row Planting

Chair of Silviculture, Institute of Forest Sciences, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg, Freiburg 79085, Germany
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Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 17 November 2016 / Published: 22 November 2016
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Abstract

Recent studies have reported superior tree quality and comparable tree growth of oaks planted in group compared with row planting. However, a comparative assessment of the potential future crop trees (PFCTs) between group and row planting is still lacking. Here, we compared the density and tree quality of planted oaks and other naturally regenerated trees between group and row planting. We assessed whether the distribution of PFCTs fulfills the goal of maintaining a spatially homogenous distribution of such crop trees at the stand level by geospatial analysis. We selected 10 group and row planting stands that were either 14 to 15 or 21 to 22 years old. Tree density in group plantings was significantly higher than in row plantings. Stand basal area was higher in row planting in younger stands but comparable to group planting in older stands. The proportion of trees with straight stems and monopodial crowns was higher in groups than in rows. The density and species’ richness of the PFCTs was significantly higher but the number of oak PFCTs was lower in group than in row plantings. In group plantings, naturally regenerated PFCTs contributed to 43% of total PFCTs, but to only 19% in row plantings. Also, the spatial distribution of PFCTs in group plantings was more uniform than in row plantings. Uniform and homogeneous distribution of the PFCTs in group planting stands can facilitate design and conduct of tending operations. Thus, the group planting technique offers not only cost savings in the establishment phase but also additional benefits, including spreading of risks through increased tree species diversity. View Full-Text
Keywords: oak regeneration; group planting; potential future crop tree; tree quality and growth; forest restoration; low-density planting oak regeneration; group planting; potential future crop tree; tree quality and growth; forest restoration; low-density planting
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MDPI and ACS Style

Skiadaresis, G.; Saha, S.; Bauhus, J. Oak Group Planting Produces a Higher Number of Future Crop Trees, with Better Spatial Distribution than Row Planting. Forests 2016, 7, 289.

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