The foundation of our research continues to be field studies examining the effects of silvicultural treatments applied during stand establishment (e.g., soil tillage, vegetation management, fertilization) and in established stands (e.g., thinning, fertilization, woody vegetation control) on stand growth and nutrition.
Since 1970, FPC members have established over 350 installations of 25 “regionwide” studies in the southeast US, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. Studies are focused on a few important questions that are more effectively answered by members cooperating rather than competing. Most studies examine several silvicultural treatments, providing an opportunity to better understand interactions among treatments. All studies include multiple installations across a range of soil/site types where treatments are replicated at least twice on each site.
Data from these studies provide the basis for estimating responses to silvicultural treatments, developing prescription guidelines, and parameterizing growth models. Up-to-date results are available to members on the FPC website. During the period 2003 – 2009, 16 internal reports summarizing and synthesizing data from Regionwide trials were prepared.
The Forest Productivity Cooperative team and members completed a strategic planning process in 2009 to set the direction of research and technology transfer efforts through 2015. The priorities identified by our members include a mixture of applied and process research that has been a hallmark of the FPC for several decades. Most of the research subjects identified are relevant to a wide variety of pine and hardwood species in both the United States and Latin America. The mixture of empirical and process work conducted by the FPC enables it to extrapolate research from one region to another and from one species to another. This increases the efficiency of the research efforts of the FPC and the value of the program to the members.
FPC Research Priorities include:
- Nutrient Availability, Fertilizer Uptake and Efficiency
- Decision Support Tools and Models
- Remote Sensing and Leaf Area Index
- Weed Control and Fertilization
- Fertilization Response
- Eucalyptus Silviculture
- Genetics X Silviculture Interactions
- Response Modeling, Growth and Yield Models
- Ecophysiology, Process Models, Potential Productivity
- Initial Spacing and Thinning
- Water and Environmental Impacts
Fundamental Research includes:
- Seasonal dynamics of growth and leaf area in pine and Eucalyptus stands
- Techniques to assess understory leaf area in forests
- Ecophysiologically based growth and yield system for eucalypt and pine plantations
- Fate of forest floor C and N during regeneration
- Labile C in controlling N availability in pine plantations
- Causes and effects of stem growth deformities in rapidly growing pine plantations
- Individual tree leaf area and growth efficiency following thinning and nutrient additions
- Interactions among stand density, nutrition, and genetics
- Ecophysiological processes that drive loblolly pine growth in native and exotic plantations