More trees per hectare lifts in­come

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Growers Research -

STUD­IES HAVE SHOWN THAT WE MAY have been un­der­stock­ing our forests in re­cent years, cost­ing our in­dus­try mil­lions of dol­lars in lost in­come and lost op­por­tu­nity.

A team at Scion has been look­ing at next gen­er­a­tion sil­vi­cul­ture regimes that will help for­est own­ers max­i­mum pro­duc­tiv­ity and value from their es­tates, us­ing geno­type stud­ies and the en­vi­ron­ment where the trees are planted.

Us­ing this in­for­ma­tion, they have cre­ated a model that can de­ter­mine the best trees to plant to suit the en­vi­ron­ment and then work out the op­ti­mal post-thin­ning stand den­sity, in­clud­ing whether to prune or not, and how this im­pacts on crop value.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search pre­sented to the For­est Grow­ers Re­search con­fer­ence in Christchurch by Scion’s Heidi Dungey, John Moore and Michael Watt, it seems we may have been thin­ning our stands too much in re­cent years.

They have con­cluded that in­creas­ing stock­ing rates by 100 stems per hectare could re­sult in in­creases of up to $5,300 per hectare in gross value. That would trans­late to as much as $349 mil­lion over the course of a 28-year for­est life.

These re­sults have been made pos­si­ble thanks to con­duct­ing large plot tri­als with the as­sis­tance of for­est own­ers.

Fu­ture tri­als will be needed to work out bet­ter sil­vi­cul­ture regimes, which could de­liver seed lot and site-spe­cific silvi regimes to help max­imise pro­duc­tiv­ity.


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