Production of Short-Rotation Woody Crops Grown with a Range of Nutrient and Water Availability: Establishment Report and First-Year Responses
Many researchers have studied the productivity potential of intensively managed forest plantations. However, we need to learn more about the effects of fundamental growth processes on forest productivity; especially the influence of above- and belowground resource acquisition and allocation. This report presents installation, establishment, and first-year results of four tree species (two cottonwood clones, sycamore, sweetgum, and loblolly pine) grown with fertilizer and irrigation treatments. At this early stage of development, irrigation and fertilization were additive only in cottonwood clone ST66 and sweetgum. Leaf area development was directly related to stem growth, but root production was not always consistent with shoot responses, suggesting that allocation of resources varies among treatments. We will evaluate the consequences of these early responses on resource availability in subsequent growing seasons. This information will be used to: (1) optimize fiber and bioenergy production; (2) understand carbon sequestration; and (3) develop innovative applications such as phytoremediation; municipal, industrial, and agricultural wastes management; and protection of soil, air, and water resources.