|Traditional Pine Plantation Management in the
southeastern U.S. has resulted in production of more industrial
roundwood than in any other region of the world. In fact, the
forest base in the southeastern U.S. includes about one-half of
the pine plantations found throughout the world.
Traditional management of these plantations has resulted in
average growth rates of between 100 to 150 cubic feet/acre/year.
For the most part management of these plantations has been rather
extensive and was designed to minimize costs per acre. A typical
regime would be to mechanically or chemically prepare the site for
planting and plant seedlings. The plantation would then be left on
its own and the seedlings allowed to develop along with all of the
competitors coming onto the site. This type of regime may have a
total cost of about $200 - $250 per acre.
Demand for paper and wood products and the raw materials
used to produce them has been and is continuing to increase.
Simultaneously, the land base on which wood can be grown is
decreasing due to urban/suburban expansion, environmental concerns
and other factors. Thus, we have two opposing situations, the
demand for wood is increasing and the land base on which to
produce it is decreasing. If the demand for wood is going to be
met domestically there is only one option for its production –
we must increase the amount of wood produced on a given acre of
Intensive pine plantation management uses cultural
treatments such as competition control, fertilization, various
mechanical soil treatments, genetically improved planting stock
and possibly other treatments to increase wood production to 300,
400, 500 cubic feet/acre/year or more. This type of management is
relatively capital intensive and requires well trained foresters
to insure that appropriate cultural treatments are used on each
The underlying goal of the CAPPS program is to learn how to
make site specific prescriptions of cultural treatments for
increasing wood production in appropriate areas. We also are
investigating the characteristics of fast grown wood for use in
various wood products. Finally, simulation models are being
developed to help decision makers make wise use of their land base
and investment capital.
If we are successful in CAPPS we will be well on our way to
meet the increasing demand for wood products from a decreasing
wood production land base which will allow us to protect
environmentally sensitive areas.