Module III Introduction

The establishment of intensively managed plantation forests offers many productivity advantages over natural or restored forest. Stands of a single species that survive and grow well on a given site can be managed to produce a relatively uniform product for an established market. Plantations can be managed for full stocking of relatively uniform trees to capture site potential and achieve high volume growth resulting in cheaper harvesting costs. Growing area per tree can be manipulated during the rotation to produce a desired mix of timber sizes from poles to pulpwood and saw-timber. This module explores the principles and practice of plantation development focusing on plantation establishment followed by maximizing productivity of the plantation. Topic one of the module reviews different forest types covering primary (natural forests), secondary forests, semi-natural forests, and plantation forests and identifies the trend to increasing plantation forest area in many areas, including the Asia-Pacific region. Topic two explores the steps in plantation establishment from purpose of the plantation through to matching species to site characteristics and techniques for preparing the site for planting. Topic three covers ways the plantation manager can improve the profitability of the plantation by either growing more wood through fertilizer practices or by thinning and pruning to produce higher value wood. The application of nutrients to increase plantation productivity is approached in the context of the allocation of net primary productivity through different stages of forest stand development and recognizes the importance of nutrient cycling in building site resources for subsequent tree rotations.