New Forests

, Volume 13, Issue 1–3, pp 253–277 | Cite as

Does RGP predict field performance? A debate

  • David G. Simpson
  • Gary A. Ritchie
Article

Abstract

Root Growth Potential (RGP) has become the most commonly used and reported measure of seedling quality. It has also been used to predict field performance after planting, but not everyone agrees that this is an appropriate use. The authors were solicited by the “Making the Grade” Organizing Committee to engage in a debate on the topic “Does Root Growth Potential (RGP) predict Field Performance” with D. G. Simpson arguing the affirmative position and G. A. Ritchie the negative. Simpson's key debate points are: (1) RGP predicts actual field performance when trees are dead __ dead trees do not grow, (2) RGP predicts field performance potential when water uptake is dependent on new root growth, and (3) RGP is a practical tool to monitor and improve reforestation system performance. Ritchie, arguing against the proposition, maintains that: (1) the logic which underlies the dependence of Field Performance on rapid root growth after planting is flawed, i.e. root growth immediately following planting rarely occurs because soils during the planting season are generally below the threshold temperature for root growth, and (2) RGP does not provide enough information about the complex of interacting factors which control Field Performance to give reliable, consistent predictions. The authors conclude by proposing a conceptual model which accommodates both positions.

planting site planting stock quality reforestation seedling physiology seedling quality 

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David G. Simpson
    • 1
  • Gary A. Ritchie
    • 2
  1. 1.Research ScientistBritish Columbia Ministry of ForestsVernonCanada
  2. 2.Senior Research Scientist, The George R. Staebler Forest Resources Research CenterWeyerhaeuser CompanyCentraliaUSA

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