Determining the impact of felling method and season of year on coppice regeneration
There is an increasing interest in the establishment of plantations in the Southeast region with the objective of producing biomass for energy and fuel. Establishment of these plantations will require the development of a feasible way to harvest them. These types of plantations are called Short Rotation Woody Crops (SRWC). Popular SRWC species are Eucalypt (Eucalyptus spp.), Cottonwood (Populus deltoids) and Black Willow (Salix spp.). These species have in common strong growth rates, the capability to adapt to several weather conditions, the ability to coppice (generation of new stems after harvest) and rotations of 2-5 years. SRWC have generated interest to many forest products companies and timber producers in the Southeast region in the last few years. Although they are a big promise to the bioenergy market, there are still several concerns about the best way to harvest them without damaging their ability to coppice and when is the best season to harvest them so the sprouts regrow. Plots were installed at several locations in Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas. The plots were cut using a typical shear-head feller-buncher and a chainsaw; also two harvest seasons were scheduled: winter and summer. Each plot was divided in 4 treatments: winter-shear, winter-saw, summer-shear and summer-saw. Winter harvest occurred in December and March, while summer harvest occurred in May and June. Plots will be evaluated for mortality of the stumps and the number of stems regenerated.