Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

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

Version 1 : Received: 10 July 2018 / Approved: 10 July 2018 / Online: 10 July 2018 (12:04:37 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

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. 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.

Journal reference: Forests 2018, 9, 480
DOI: 10.3390/f9080480

Abstract

Several studies have quantified the responses of Eucalyptus globulus plantations to weed control on its early development (2-3 years after establishment). However, long-term results of competing vegetation effects have been rarely incorporated into growth and yield models that forecast the long-term effects of reducing the intensity of competing vegetation control and its interaction with site resource availability on stem volume production close to rotation age. We compared several models predicting stand stem volume yield of Eucalyptus globulus plantations established across a water and fertility gradient growing under different intensity levels of free area of competing vegetation maintained during the first 3 years of stand development. 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 seedlings. 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.

Subject Areas

weed control; competing vegetation; yield modelling; E. globulus

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