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Growth and productivity of Pericopsis elata (Harms) Meeuwen in some forest plantations of Cameroon

J. R. Ngueguim, J. L. Betti, B. Riera, J. Ambara, M. Tchatat, J. Onana
Forest science and technology 2012 v.8 no.1 pp. 1-10
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Pericopsis, basins, climatic factors, fauna, flora, forest plantations, forest trees, forests, hardwood, natural regeneration, natural resources conservation, planting, stems, surveys, survival rate, threatened species, tree and stand measurements, tree growth, tree mortality, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo
Pericopsis elata is a timber tree with a high commercial value used as hardwood in the Congo basin forest. It is considered a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and classified in 1992 in the annex II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The natural regeneration of P. elata is problematic; an increase in knowledge concerning its ecology, productivity, and potentials could significantly contribute to the sustainable exploitation of the species and improve its silviculture. Despite the irregularity of silvicultural treatment, Kienke south and Ndeng ndeng plantation, respectively situated in the south and east region of Cameroon, show acceptable survival rates. These rates are estimated at 91% in parcel P ₇₅ planted at 884 stems/ha and 69% in parcel P ₇₄₆ with a density of 192 stems/ha. Tree mortalities were mainly attributed to edaphic and climatic factors. The best performances of tree diameter growth were observed in parcel P ₇₄₁ and P ₇₃ where the mean diameters at breast height of trees were 27 ± 18 cm and 24 ± 11 cm. The higher values of standard deviation showed a strong variability within tree diameter in the parcels. In P ₇₄₁, the mean annual growth decreased from 1.40 cm/year to 0.7 cm/year between 1979 and 2009. The tree diameter structures of the plantations are asymmetric with a very high slope before the modal class expressing the difficulties of the growth of individuals with diameter lower than 10 cm. The production of wood was estimated at 1326.6 ± 70 m ³ for trees with more than 30 cm diameter. The plantations are situated out of the natural and geographical area of the species; this can justify the low performances of trees growth. The survey of these plantations and silvicultural treatments could contribute to increasing tree growth.