Nutrient concentration age dynamics of teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) plantations in Central America

J. Fernandez Moya, R. Murillo, E. Portuguez, J.L. Fallas, V. Rios, F. Kottman, J. M. Verjans, R. Mata, A. Alvarado


Aim of study. Appropriate knowledge regarding teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) nutrition is required for a better management of the plantations to attain high productivity and sustainability. This study aims to answer the following questions: How can it be determined if a teak tree suffers a nutrient deficiency before it shows symptoms? Are nutrient concentration decreases in older trees associated with age-related declines in forest productivity?

Area of study. Costa Rica and Panama.

Material and Methods. Nutrient concentration in different tree tissues (bole, bark, branches and foliage) were measured at different ages using false-time-series in 28 teak plantations

Research highlights. Foliar N concentration decreases from 2.28 in year 1 to 1.76% in year 19. Foliar Mg concentration increases from 0.23 in year 1 to 0.34% in year 19. The foliar concentrations of the other nutrients are assumed to be constant with tree age: 1.33% Ca, 0.88% K, 0.16% P, 0.12% S, 130 mg kg-1 Fe, 43 mg kg-1 Mn, 11 mg kg-1 Cu, 32 mg kg-1 Zn and 20 mg kg-1 B. The nutrient concentration values showed can be taken as a reference to evaluate the nutritional status of similar teak plantations in the region. The concentrations of K, Mg and N could be associated with declines in teak plantation productivity as the plantation becomes older. Whether age-related changes in nutrient concentrations are a cause or a consequence of age-related declines in productivity is an issue for future research with the aim of achieving higher growth rates throughout the rotation period.

Key words: forest nutrition; age-related decline in productivity; nutrient foliar concentration; nutrient bole concentration; resorption.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013221-03386