Article

Fertilizer research

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 129-140

Forest fertilization research and practice in the Pacific Northwest

  • H. N. ChappellAffiliated withCollege of Forest Resources, University of Washington
  • , D. W. ColeAffiliated withCollege of Forest Resources, University of Washington
  • , S. P. GesselAffiliated withCollege of Forest Resources, University of Washington
  • , R. B. WalkerAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, University of Washington

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Abstract

Forest managers in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) use fertilization as a means to increase timber yields in managed stands. Information on the biological basis for nutrient amendments and stand growth responses to fertilization is required to effectively use fertilization as a silvicultural tool, and research programs in mineral cycling and forest nutrition have been underway in the region for about four decades.

Most PNW Douglas-fir forest sites are nitrogen deficient. Mineral cycling research has shown high C/N ratios and low nitrification rates for soils in the region.

Research and development projects in the Pacific Northwest have produced an information base that is used to select sites and stands for fertilization and to forecast growth after treatment. Much of the basis for operational fertilization programs in western Oregon and Washington comes from cooperative research programs; current activities for these programs are directed toward improving site-specific response information.

Forest fertilization in the Pacific Northwest has become a silvicultural practice of major significance over the past two decades. Forest industry and government organizations managing forest lands in western Oregon and Washington apply nitrogen fertilizer to Douglas-fir stands over a range of soil and stand types (operational fertilization of other species is minor). About 50,000 to 55,000 ha are fertilized each year, and future programs will likely be of similar magnitude. Most current plans for management regimes including fertilization call for multiple applications.

Key words

Douglas-fir nitrogen mineral cycling growth and yield