Simulation of Early Stand Development in Intensively Managed Loblolly Pine Plantations
A system of equations was developed and incorporated into the PTAEDA2 loblolly pine stand simulator to provide growth projections from time of planting. Annual height growth is predicted using a two-parameter Weibull function, where distribution parameters are estimated from equations that utilize site index and age as predictor variables. Allometric equations are employed to estimate tree diameter and height-to-crown attributes. First year after planting mortality estimates are based on physiographic region and drainage class, with adjustments for bedding or discing site preparation treatments. Thereafter, a simple mortality function is used. The onset of competition is defined through a point density measure, which was conditioned to correspond with inflection points of basal area growth curves from observed data.
Early silvicultural treatment response functions were also developed. These equations modify growth for shearing and piling, discing, and bedding site preparation methods, fertilization with phosphorous, nitrogen, and/or potassium, and 1-year or 2-year herbaceous weed control treatments. Differential responses due to drainage class and physiographic region are included in the response functions where necessary. Equations that account for interactions between certain treatments are used to adjust response levels where treatments have similar effects site conditions.
Analyses of pre-competitive growth projections where no treatments are specified reveal that a small amount of over-prediction is present when compared with observed data. Predicted values in the post-competitive growth phase confirm that the addition of the pre-competitive growth system did not significantly affect the predictive behavior of the PTAEDA2 model. The simulated growth responses attributed to early silvicultural treatments are consistent with response levels reported in other studies.