, Volume 168-169, Issue 1, pp 225-232

The influence of stand development on nutrient demand, growth and allocation

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Abstract

As an even-aged stand develops growth is concentrated first on leaves and fine roots, as a result nutrient accumulation is very rapid. During this early stage there is a distinct species effect whereas later nutrient uptake becomes a function of growth rate irrespective of species. Once canopy is closed up to two thirds of the nutrients required for growth can be obtained by retranslocation from older or dying tissues, an efficient conservation mechanism that leads to a reduction in the demands that are further reduced by the cycle through the litter layer. In consequence nutritional problems are most likely in the early years while the green crown is being constructed. Later in the rotation problems are unlikely unless nutrient cycles are disturbed, for example by thinning or as a result of excessive accumulation of humus. The eventual clear felling is a major disruption to nutrient cycles. Accelerated litter decomposition can lead to leaching losses, although this can be short lived, and burning if practised can have a major impact on poor sites. Nutrient loss in material removed from the felling site, whether or not harvested, is not high but is much increased if crowns are removed, particularly for the heavily crowned species. The importance of such loss clearly varies with site but may be significant for more than just loss of nitrogen, with loss of calcium, phosphorus or even organic matter per se all being possibly causes of worry.