Response to the interaction of thinning and pruning of pine species in Mediterranean mountains

Abstract

Pruning allows knot-free timber to be obtained, thereby increasing the value of the highest-value wood products. However, the effect of pruning on growth is under discussion, and knowledge about the tree response to the simultaneous development of thinning and pruning is scarce. The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of the interaction of thinning and pruning on tree and stand level and the annual radial growth of two pine species native to Mediterranean mountains. We used long-term data of three trials installed in pine stands where several combinations of pruning and thinning were developed. Five inventories were carried out for each trial, and the mean dasometric features of the different treatments were compared using linear mixed models including a competition index. In addition, we collected cores from ten trees per plot in order to evaluate the annual response of trees to the thinning and pruning. We analyzed the annual radial growth using a semiparametric approach through a smooth penalized spline including rainfall and temperature covariates. Pruning did not show any effect on growth. However, larger diameter and increased annual radial growth were found in thinned plots, both with and without pruning, as compared to unthinned plots. Also, we found significant effects of climate on annual radial growth. We recommend the application of thinning and pruning in stands of Mediterranean mountains in order to get knot-free timber since growth reduction was not found in thinned stands.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Dr. Nicholas Devaney (National University of Ireland, Galway) for revising the English grammar and the anonymous reviewers for their commentaries. Also, we wish to thank everybody who participated in the field work, especially to Ángel Bachiller. This study was part of the Research Project AT2010.007 and AGL 2010.21153.01 funded by the Spanish Government.

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Correspondence to Daniel Moreno-Fernández.

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Communicated by A. Weiskittel.

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Moreno-Fernández, D., Sánchez-González, M., Álvarez-González, J.G. et al. Response to the interaction of thinning and pruning of pine species in Mediterranean mountains. Eur J Forest Res 133, 833–843 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-014-0800-z

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Keywords

  • Knot-free timber
  • Smooth penalized spline
  • Climate
  • Mixed models
  • BAL