Culture intensity and stand density effects on tree quality in midrotation loblolly pine plantations in the Southeast
Green, Patrick Corey
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Current loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) culture x density studies in the Piedmont and Upper Coastal Plain of the Southeast, the Plantation Management Research Cooperative (PMRC) South Atlantic Gulf Slope (SAGS) studies, were used to examine the effects of two cultural intensities, six planting densities, and their interactions on solid wood potential as well as the proportion and position of product defining defects. A tree quality index (TQI) and the current PMRC grading system, were used to grade standing timber for solid wood potential. Results show that operational management intensity produces a higher proportion of trees with solid wood product potential, higher product defining defect height, and lower proportions of product defining defects than does the intensive management in both non-thinned and thinned installations. The effect of planting density on tree quality was found to be minimal compared to management intensity when using both grading systems.