Site Classification of Eucalyptus urophylla × Eucalyptus grandis Plantations in China
Haifei Lu, Jianmin Xu, Guangyou Li, Wangshu Liu
and Objectives: It is important to match species needs with site conditions for sustainable forestry. In Eucalyptus urophylla × Eucalyptus grandis plantations in southern Yunnan, China, species-site mismatches have led to inappropriate expansion and management, which has degraded forests and decreased efficiency in plantation production. Further research is needed to understand the relationship between tree growth and site productivity. We empirically explored site features and classified site
... ypes within these plantations in southern Yunnan. Our objective was to develop a theoretical basis for improving site selection for afforestation, and to establish intensive management in that region. Materials and Methods: 130 standard plots were set up in 1−15-year-old eucalyptus plantations in Pu'er and Lincang. We used quantification theory to examine the relationship between dominant tree growth traits and site factors. Hierarchical cluster analysis and canonical correlation analysis were applied to classify sites and evaluate the growth potential of E. urophylla × E. grandis plantations, respectively. Results: The multiple correlation coefficient between eight site factors (altitude, slope, slope position, aspect, soil depth, texture, bulk density, and litter thickness) and the quantitative growth of the dominant tree was 0.834 (p < 0.05). Slope position, altitude, and soil depth were the main factors contributing to the variation in stand growth. Plantation growth was best on lower slopes at relatively low altitude, where thick and weathered red soil layers existed. Conversely, the poorest plantations were located on upper slopes at higher altitude, with a thin semi-weathered purple soil layer. The soil factors total nitrogen (N) and potassium (K), trace boron (B), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) content, available phosphorous (P), and organic matter content in the soil influenced plantation growth. Conclusions. The addition of N, P, and K fertilizer as well as trace elements such as B, Cu, and Zn can promote the productivity of these plantations.