Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 89–98 | Cite as

Spatial variation and understorey competition effect of Pinus radiata fine roots in a silvopastoral system in New Zealand

  • M.K. Gautam
  • D.J. Mead
  • S.X. Chang
  • P.W. Clinton


In designing agroforestry systems, the combination of tree genotype (orspecies) and pasture species and the spatial arrangement of trees are importantconsiderations. The spatial variation of fine root length density (FRLD) ofthree radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) genotypes,referred to here as clone 3, clone 4 and seedlings, was studied in athree-year-old temperate silvopastoral experiment. The genotypes were plantedwith three understorey types: ryegrass (Lolium perenne)mixed with clovers (Trifolium spp), lucerne(Medicago sativa), and control (bare ground). Also fineroot distribution of both tree and pasture species with soil depth and inrelation to tree row (0.9 m north or south of and within the rippedtree row) was studied. Greater FRLD was found in clonal than in seedling treesin the bare ground treatment but not in the two pasture treatments, and in the0–0.1 m but not in the 0.1–0.2 or 0.2–0.3m soil layers. Clonal trees had a greater ability to develop a moreextensive root system, especially in the 0–0.1 m soil layer,but that advantage disappeared when they were planted with pasture species sincecompetition from the pasture species was most severe in the 0–10cm layer. The FRLD of lucerne was greater than that ofryegrass/clovers, consistent with the greater aboveground biomass production oflucerne. Pasture species FRLD was greater on the south (wetter) than on thenorth side of the ripline or in the ripline. The interception of prevailingsoutherly rain-bearing wind by tree crowns resulted in the south side beingwetter than the north side. Results indicated that production and distributionof fine roots of both tree and pasture species responded to changes in themicroclimate. We suggest that to optimize pasture/tree biomass productionplanting trees in the north-south direction is better than in the east-westdirection at the studied site.

Fine root length density (FRLD) Genotype Microsite Ripping Root distribution Tree-pasture interaction 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • M.K. Gautam
    • 1
  • D.J. Mead
    • 2
  • S.X. Chang
    • 3
  • P.W. Clinton
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Resources, Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Silviculture AdvisorGolden BayNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of Alberta, , Centre for Enhanced Forest ManagementEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.New Zealand Forest Research Institute LtdChristchurchNew Zealand

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