Plentern mit Kiefern--Ergebnisse aus den USA [Plentering with pines--results from the United States]
Until now, scientifically reliable data on plentering of light-demanding tree species in Europe have been lacking. This gap is filled with long-term trials from the USA, among others with southern yellow pines. In the southern state of Arkansas, two plots of 16 hectares were installed in 1936, in the context of a large-scale trial of mixed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata Miller) stands, in which plentering has been applied using single-tree harvest of predominantly sawtimber-sized trees (dbh >30 cm) with natural regeneration. The aim of the experiment is to investigate the possibilities and limits of uneven-aged silviculture with shade-intolerant tree species, and whether this can be applied in cutover southern yellow pine stands in order to improve the stand structure, to increase growth, and to make periodic harvests possible. The two plots were in different initial states – one more or less fully stocked, the other with poor initial stocking. Since 1936, 18 complete surveys have been conducted where all trees 10 cm and larger were tallied by diameter. During that same time period, 14 plenter harvests have been carried out using the Volume Control-Guiding Diameter Limit method in both plots. In order to check the variability of stand structure within the 16-hectare stands, each was subdivided into four quarters, and the diameter distributions were compared within each quarter. The uneven- aged structure was checked by a sample of tree-ring counts. Both stands retained continuous canopy cover throughout the observation period. The initial differences in the number of stems, the basal area, the standing volume, the proportion of sawtimber, the average basal area and the mean quadratic diameter dg became alike in the course of time, which shows the flexibility of plentering and the tendency to develop stands where the harvest of growth appears to be sustainable. The dg of the harvest was initially slightly more than 20 cm, but is today more than 50 cm. The average total growth is 6 m3/ha and year. The results show that these stands are uneven-aged stands in an advanced stage of the transformation to plentering. We suspect that in the absence of a major natural disturbance event, the plentering approach in southern yellow pines will continue to be promising in the future.