Modelling the effect of microsite influences on the growth and survival of juvenile Eucalyptus globoidea (Blakely) and Eucalyptus bosistoana (F. Muell) in New Zealand.
The effect of microsite on juvenile forest plantation yield is rarely explored. This is because juvenile plantation growth is considered to be reasonably homogenous due to a lack of resource competition between trees prior to canopy closure. However, models of juvenile plantation height growth and survival that are sensitive to microsite variation could aid decisions relating to site preparation, plantation establishment and early silvicultural treatments. In this study, juvenile Eucalyptus bosistoana and E. globoidea height growth and survival proportion were modelled against topographic and environmental microsite characteristics as independent variables. The experiment included three different sites situated in a sub-humid region of New Zealand. A total of 540 plots were planted with 18,540 trees in regular rows and columns. Micro-topographical variables significantly influenced height growth and survival proportion of both E. bosistoana and E. globoidea, but species differed in their responses. More sheltered microsites yielded greater height growth and survival for both species. The height of both species was influenced by wind exposure, morphometric protection, and distance from the nearest ridge. E. bosistoana height was also influenced by topographic position and surface plan curvature. Survival was affected by surface profile curvature for both species, while E. globoidea survival was also impacted by surface plan curvature and distance from the top ridge. This study identified microsite factors influencing juvenile height and survival of two Eucalyptus species.