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Forests 2018, 9(8), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080480

Modelling the Effect of Weed Competition on Long-Term Volume Yield of Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Plantations across an Environmental Gradient

1
Bioforest S.A., Concepción 83422, Chile
2
Departamento de Silvicultura, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 83422, Chile
3
Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
4
Cooperativa de Productividad Forestal, Departamento de Silvicultura, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 83422, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

Several studies have quantified the responses of Eucalyptus globulus Labill. plantations to weed control on its early development (2–3 years after establishment). However, long-term results of competing vegetation effects have not been included into growth and yield models that incorporate treatments of competing vegetation control, and its interaction with site resource availability. In this article, we compared several models predicting stand volume yield of E. globulus plantations established across an environmental gradient, growing under different intensity levels of competing vegetation control. Four sites were selected encompassing a gradient in rainfall and amount of competing vegetation. Treatments were applied at stand establishment and were monitored periodically until age 9 years. Competing vegetation control intensity levels considered 0, 5, 20, 44, and 100% weed-free cover around individual E. globulus cuttings. Maximum competing vegetation biomass production during the first growing season were 2.9, 6.5, 2.2, and 12.9 Mg ha−1, for sites ranging from low to high annual rainfall. As expected, reductions in volume yield at age 9 years were observed as competing vegetation control intensity decreased during the first growing season. A strong relationship was established between stem volume yield loss and the intensity of competing vegetation control, the amount of competing vegetation biomass produced during the first growing season and mean annual rainfall. The slope of the relationship was different among sites and was related mainly to water and light limitations. Our results suggest that the biomass of competing vegetation (intensity of competition), affecting site resource availability, contribute to observed long-term effects on E. globulus plantations productivity. The site with the lowest mean annual rainfall showed the highest volume yield loss at age 9 years. Sites with highest rainfall showed contrasting results related to the amount of competing vegetation biomass. View Full-Text
Keywords: weed control; competing vegetation; yield modelling; E. globulus weed control; competing vegetation; yield modelling; E. globulus
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Vargas, F.; Gonzalez-Benecke, C.A.; Rubilar, R.; Sanchez-Olate, M. Modelling the Effect of Weed Competition on Long-Term Volume Yield of Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Plantations across an Environmental Gradient. Forests 2018, 9, 480.

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