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Growth and species interactions of Eucalyptus pellita in a mixed and monoculture plantation in the humid tropics of north Queensland

Bristow, M. and Vanclay, J.K. and Brooks, L. and Hunt, M. (2006) Growth and species interactions of Eucalyptus pellita in a mixed and monoculture plantation in the humid tropics of north Queensland. Forest Ecology and Management, 233 (2-3). pp. 285-294.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2006.05.019

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

Abstract

This study investigated whether mixed-species designs can increase the growth of a tropical eucalypt when compared to monocultures. Monocultures of Eucalyptus pellita (E) and Acacia peregrina (A) and mixtures in various proportions (75E:25A, 50E:50A, 25E:75A) were planted in a replacement series design on the Atherton Tablelands of north Queensland, Australia. High mortality in the establishment phase due to repeated damage by tropical cyclones altered the trial design. Effects of experimental designs on tree growth were estimated using a linear mixed-effects model with restricted maximum likelihood analysis (REML). Volume growth of individual eucalypt trees were positively affected by the presence of acacia trees at age 5 years and this effect generally increased with time up to age 10 years. However, the stand volume and basal area increased with increasing proportions of E. pellita, due to its larger individual tree size. Conventional analysis did not offer convincing support for mixed-species designs. Preliminary individual-based modelling using a modified Hegyi competition index offered a solution and an equation that indicates acacias have positive ecological interactions (facilitation or competitive reduction) and definitely do not cause competition like a eucalypt. These results suggest that significantly increased in growth rates could be achieved with mixed-species designs. This statistical methodology could enable a better understanding of species interactions in similarly altered experiments, or undesigned mixed-species plantations.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© Science Direct.
Keywords:Eucalyptus pellita; Acacia peregrina; mixed species plantations; growth and yield modelling; competition; Hegyi index.
Subjects:Forestry > Sylviculture
Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Plant culture > Tree crops
Deposited On:03 Feb 2009 03:23
Last Modified:29 Sep 2010 23:56

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