EFFECTS OF PLANTING DENSITY, MANAGEMENT, AND SITE ON LOBLOLLY PINE BIOMASS PRODUCTION

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1 EFFECTS OF PLANTING DENSITY, MANAGEMENT, AND SITE ON LOBLOLLY PINE BIOMASS PRODUCTION Dehai Zhao, Michael Kane, Daniel Markewitz, Robert Teskey, Dale Greene Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources The University of Georgia

2 Introduction Forests occupy 60% of the land area in southeastern US, with large fraction of pine forests Loblolly pine is the most commercially important species About 50% pine forests is naturally regenerated, 50% planted with genetically improved seedlings 10 million ha each Southern pine forests produce about 16% of global industrial wood More than any other country (Conner & Hartsell 2002, Wear & Greis 2002, Smith et al. 2002)

3 Introduction Potential biomass markets for plantations Carbon Credit Exchange Biomass Energy Biomass production for energy from plantations Short Rotation Plantations (SRP) dedicated to woody biomass production Energy plantations Longer Rotation Plantations (LRP) managed for woody biomass and traditional forest products

4 Introduction Biomass energy from pine plantations SRP: Possible? LRP: Feasible! Zhao et al. unpublished

5 Introduction Need to modify and optimize loblolly pine plantation management regimes to sustainably produce a mixture of traditional merchantable forest products and biomass for energy Limited knowledge about the effects of management regimes on biomass production and allocation (stem wood, bark, branches and foliage)

6 Introduction In recent years, UGA PMRC has made a good effort to fill the gap PMRC s unique Loblolly Pine Culture/Density Studies Done destructive biomass sampling (456 sampled trees) Developed Additive Tree Biomass Equations for Midrotation Loblolly Pine Plantations (Zhao et al Forest Science) To quantify loblolly pine biomass production and allocation for the wide range of planting density, cultural intensity, and site quality

7 Loblolly Pine Culture/Density Studies Descriptions LCP region 17 installations (1995/96) SC, GA, FL PUCP region 17 installations (1997/98) 6 installations (1998/99) SC, GA, AL, FL, MS

8 Loblolly Pine Culture/Density Studies Descriptions Planting Density: 300, 600, 900, 1200, 1500, 1800 TPA Cultural Regimes LCP Culture Density Study SAGS Culture Density Study Operational Intensive Operational Intensive Bedding Bedding Tillage including subsoiling on some sites Fall banded chemical site preparation Herbaceous weed control: 1st year banded Fall broadcast chemical site preparation Tip moth control Repeated herbicide application to achieve complete vegetation control Broadcast chemical site preparation Hardwood control: 1 st year banded Tillage including subsoiling on some sites Broadcast chemical site preparation Repeated herbicide application to achieve complete vegetation control Fertilization: At planting, 500 lbs/ac of ; before 8 th, 12 th, 16 th growth season, 200 lbs/ac N + 25 lbs/ac P Fertilization: At planting, 500 lbs/ac of ; Spring 3rd grow season, 600 lbs/ac micronutrients lbs/ac NH4NO3; Spring 4th grow season 117 lbs/ac NH4NO3; Spring 6th grow season 300 lbs/ac NH4NO3; Spring 8 th, 10 th, 12 th, 14 th 16 th growth season 200 lbs/ac N + 25 lbs/ac P Fertilization: At planting, 500 lbs/ac of ; before 8th, 12th, 16th growth season, 200 lbs/ac N + 25 lbs/ac P Fertilization: At planting, 500 lbs/ac of ; Spring 3rd grow season, 600 lbs/ac micronutrients lbs/ac NH4NO3; Spring 4th grow season 117 lbs/ac NH4NO3; Spring 6th grow season 300 lbs/ac NH4NO3; 8 th, 10 th, 12 th, 14 th grow season 200 lbs/ac N + 25 lbs/ac P

9 SAGS Culture/Density Installation #20 Escambia County, Alabama

10 Loblolly Pine Culture/Density Studies Descriptions 21 non thinned installations at age 15 Site Class Number of Installations at Age 15 Site Index* L 6 (1 LCP; 5 UCP) SI <80 ft ( ft) M 8 (3 LCP; 5 UCP) 80 <= SI < 90 ft ( ft) H 7 (5 LCP; 2 UCP) SI >= 90 ft ( ft) *SI based on HD of the plot planted at 600 TPA and with operational treatment

11 Method Field Destructive Biomass Sampling Total 336 trees sampled from PUCP CD study plots 4 ins. 12 plots 4 trees/plot = 192 trees at age 12 3 ins. 12 plots 4 trees/plot = 144 trees at age 15 Total 120 trees sampled from LCP CD study plots 3 ins. x 10 plots x 4 trees/plots = 120 trees at age 16

12 Method Biomass Sampling Biomass for each sampled tree Dry weight of stem wood Dry weight of stem bark Dry weight of dead branches Dry weight of live branches Dry weight of foliage Energy and nutrients by biomass component BTU/lb or Calories/g Carbon (C), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and other element concentration

13 Method Additive Tree Biomass Equations DW DBH HT CL CW DCB wood DW DBH HT bark (I) DW DBH DW dbranch lbranch CL HT CL DCB DBH CW DCB DCB DW DBH HT CW DCB foliage (II) DW DBH HT wood DW DW DW DW bark dbranch lbranch foliage DBH DBH DBH DBH HT HT HT Zhao et al Forest Science

14 Total O.B. Volume Trends

15 Total O.B. Volume at Age 15

16 Aboveground Biomass Accumulation

17 Aboveground Biomass Allocation Sun Grant Regional Conference, Auburn, AL 2/3/2015

18 Energy, Carbon and Nutrient Concentrations Loblolly Pine Plantations at Age 12 in PUCP Component Energy (kj g -1 ) C (%) N (%) P (%) K (%) Ca (%) Mg (%) Wood 18.9 d 45.8 d 0.10 c 0.01 d 0.05 d 0.06 d 0.03 d Bark 19.7 b 48.4 a 0.30 b 0.02 c 0.06 c 0.16 b 0.04 c Branch 19.3 c 46.7 c 0.40 b 0.03 b 0.12 b 0.14 c 0.06 b Foliage 20.6 a 47.8 b 1.43 a 0.11 a 0.35 a 0.24 a 0.12 a Zhao et al Annals For. Sci.

19 Stand Energy, C, Nutrient Budgets Loblolly Pine Plantations at Age 12 in PUCP Zhao et al. 2014Annals For. Sci.

20 Energy, C & Nutrients in Aboveground Biomass Removed by Stem only Harvesting Loblolly Pine Plantations at Age 12 in PUCP Zhao et al Annals For. Sci.

21 Conclusions Intensive management increased aboveground biomass; larger biomass responses on the low quality sites. However, these responses at age 15 were no longer significant on the highquality sites. Overall, higher planting densities resulted in larger aboveground biomass. However, there were no big differences in total aboveground biomass among the higher planting densities, From age 10, on the high quality sites, with both intensive and operational regimes; From age 10, on the low quality sites with the intensive regime; At age 15, on the medium quality sites with the intensive regime.

22 Conclusions There was no advantage to planting stands at very high densities, because the higher plant densities did not yield higher energy content. Stand level biomass accumulation and allocation significantly changed from ages 10 to 15. More biomass partitioned to stem, less to branch, with increasing planting density or more intensive management. Site quality affected both biomass accumulation and allocation. A large proportion (>73%) of the aboveground energy content in medium to high planting densities was in the stem wood

23 Conclusions There appears to be little to no advantage to whole tree harvesting since it removes a substantially disproportionate amount of the nutrients taken by the trees. Overall, management regimes for bioenergy can be determined by optimizing biomass, since neither cultural regime nor planting density had a significant effect on the concentration of energy or carbon in the various aboveground biomass components, as biomass closely corresponds to energy yield in young loblolly pine stands.

24 Acknowledgements Georgia s Traditional Industries Program Biomass Model System for Intensively Managed Loblolly Pine Plantations USDA NIFA High Density Southern Pine Feedstock Production and Carbon Sequestration (No ) Plantation Management Research Cooperative (PMRC) members and technicians

25

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