Alternative eucalypts for commercial pulpwood production at moderately dry sites in the warm temperate zone of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

  • Robin A.W. Gardner
  • Keith M. Little
  • Arnulf Kanzler
  • Thimagren N. Naidoo
Keywords: Corymbia, drought tolerance, Eucalyptus, frost tolerance, pulping properties, site–species matching, South Africa, wood properties Introduction Southern Forests

Abstract

During 2001, a series of four site–taxa interaction trials was established in the warm temperate (mean annual temperature range 16–19 °C) forestry climatic zone of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. The main objective was to investigate the commercial forestry potential of a range of alternative Eucalyptus and Corymbia taxa for moderately dry (mean annual precipitation < 850 mm) sites within the zone. At rotation end, all trials received final standing tree measurements. At one of the sites (Rockvale), trees of eight promising alternative taxa were felled, stem measurements and wood samples taken, and wood and fibre productivities determined. On the basis of tree growth and wood and fibre production, C. citriodora subsp. variegata, C. henryi, E. badjensis, E. benthamii and E. dorrigoensis (listed alphabetically) demonstrated the greatest potential as commercial alternatives for moderately dry sites in the KZN warm temperate zone. The majority of these taxa showed strong site specificity. Eucalyptus benthamii was the only taxon showing high growth adaptability to the entire range of site conditions applied in the series. The non-susceptibility of C. citriodora subsp. variegata and C. henryi to the current topical insect pests Thaumastocoris peregrinus, Leptocybe invasa and Glycaspis brimblecombei elevates the appeal of these taxa as potential alternative planting choices for moderately dry sites within lower altitude (<1 100 m asl) areas of the climate zone. The matching of the most promising alternative taxa in the series to the range of sites encountered in moderately dry areas of the KZN warm temperate forestry zone is discussed in this paper.

Keywords: Corymbia, drought tolerance, Eucalyptus, frost tolerance, pulping properties, site–species matching, South Africa, wood properties Introduction Southern Forests

Published
2018-05-14
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 2070-2639
print ISSN: 2070-2620