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Quantifying the effects of soil and climate on aboveground biomass production of Salix miyabeana SX67 in Quebec

Abstract

Soil and climatic conditions for optimizing aboveground biomass yields of bioenergy short rotation coppices (SRCs) of Salix are not well elucidated. The objective of this study was to identify and quantify the limitations induced by soil and climate, and compare the magnitude of their effects, on annual aboveground yields across ten SRCs of Salix miyabeana SX67 in Quebec, Canada. The effects of weather variation between years on yields were also tested within locations. In five plots per SRC, soil bulk density, particle size, exchangeable cations and bulk composition were analysed, and moisture deficits were estimated using leaf δ13C. For each location, numerous weather variables were simulated for spring, summer and the whole growing season. Climate was calculated by averaging weather variables for growing seasons for which annual yields were available. Annual aboveground biomass yields were modelled using linear regression, partitioning of the variance and mixed models with soil, weather and climate variables as predictors. Across SRCs, silt content, soil organic matter, pH, exchangeable Ca and Mg, and total N and Zn were significantly and positively related to aboveground yields (adj. R 2 ranging from 0.38 to 0.79). Generally, annual yields were negatively related to summer temperature within SRCs (adj. R 2 = 0.92) and drought across SRCs (adj. R 2 = 0.54). Partitioning of the variance revealed that soil variables (~80%) had a greater effect on productivity than did climate variables (~10%). In fact, soil properties buffered or exacerbated water shortages and, thus, had a preponderant effect on yield.

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Acknowledgements

Financial support for this project was provided by a Grant from the Fonds de recherche du QuébecNature et technologiesProgramme de recherche en partenariat contribuant à la réduction et à la séquestration des gaz à effet de serre (2011-GZ-138839) to N. Bélanger. We are grateful to Florence Bélanger, Carol Bouchard, Simon Constantineau, Alexandre Fouillet, Fanny Gagné, Benoît Lafleur, Julien Mourali, Jacinthe Ricard-piché, Marie-Claude Turmel and Gilbert Tremblay for their help in the field and laboratory. We thank Mélanie Desrochers for her help in creating the map. We also thank Francis Allard, Roger Chamard, Alice Chagnon, Jean-François Lavoie, Alain Guay and staff from the Centre de recherche sur les grains (CEROM) for giving us access to the SRCs of willow that were used in this study. Finally, we thank Olivier Lalonde from CEROM for providing soil samples and growth data for the ALB site and William F. J. Parsons for careful English-language revision of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Nicolas Bélanger.

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Fontana, M., Labrecque, M., Messier, C. et al. Quantifying the effects of soil and climate on aboveground biomass production of Salix miyabeana SX67 in Quebec. New Forests 48, 817–835 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-017-9599-z

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Keywords

  • Soil nutrients
  • Pedoclimatic models
  • Water-use efficiency
  • Site effect
  • Farmland soils