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Effect of thinning intensity on tree growth and temporal variation of seed and cone production in a Pinus koraiensis plantation

Nguyen, Thanh Tuan, Tai, Dinh Tien, Zhang, Peng, Razaq, Muhammad, Shen, Hai-Long
Journal of forestry research 2019 v.30 no.3 pp. 835-845
Pinus koraiensis, basal area, seed quality, seed weight, temporal variation, tree and stand measurements, tree growth, trees, China
Thinning of Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc.) is used to facilitate timber and cone production. The present study in Northeast China investigated the effects of thinning intensity on individual tree growth, temporal variation in cone yield, and seed quality in Korean pine plantation. In 2005, five thinning intensity levels (none, extreme, heavy, moderate and light) were set in 15 permanent plots in a 32-year-old Korean pine plantation at Mengjiagang Forest Farm, Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province. We recorded tree growth and seed cone production from 2013 to 2016, i.e., from 8 to 11 years after thinning. Except for height growth, thinning increased tree growth (diameter at breast height and crown size) and improved cone yield. The extreme thinning treatment (to 300 trees per hectare) resulted in the largest tree diameter, tree volume, crown size and 4-year cone production per tree. The highest cone yield per tree in the mast year (2014) was observed when stands were thinned to 500 trees per hectare (heavy thinning). Although the best cone and seed quality and the largest cone and seed mass per tree were recorded in the heavily thinned stand, no significant differences were found between heavy and moderate thinning stands (750 trees per hectare). At the stand level, the moderately thinned stand had the highest basal area, stock volume and seed cone production per stand. Our results suggest that thinning to 750 trees per hectare will improve timber and cone productivity in 40-year-old P. koraiensis stands.