Maximum Productivity Study (E.P.886.13)
Fertilization is the most proven method for increasing harvest volume and accelerating the operability of established stands. As such, fertilization is widely viewed by forest planners and practitioners as a potentially valuable tool for mitigating "pinch points" in the mid-term timber supply caused by age class imbalances, and for increasing long term harvest levels. click to enlarge. However, a single nutrient application typically produces only a temporary increase in tree and stand growth. Research in other forest regions has demonstrated that sustained growth responses, and large reductions in rotation length, are achievable by repeatedly fertilizing young stands. To what extent can intensive fertilization of young, managed forests potentially mitigate the mid-term timber supply shortfalls and declines in long-term harvest levels currently forecast for many forest management units in the B.C. interior? What are the potential long-term ecological consequences of adding large quantities of nutrients to interior forests? Experimental Project (EP) 886.13 titled "Maximizing the Productivity of Lodgepole Pine and Spruce in the Interior of British Columbia" was designed and implemented by the Ministry of Forests, Research Branch to provide forest planners and practitioners with reliable answers to these important questions.
The growth and yield objectives of the "maximum productivity" study are to compare the effects of different regimes and frequencies of repeated fertilization on the growth and development of young lodgepole pine and interior spruce managed stands, and to determine optimum fertilization regimes for maximum stand volume production. In collaboration with other scientists, several ancillary studies are being undertaken at selected study sites to determine the long-term effects of large nutrient additions on above-and below-ground timber and non-timber resources.
This website describes the treatment regimes used in the "maximum productivity" study and the location, site and stand characteristics of each of the eight study sites. There are also pages describing the growth and yield and ancillary components of the study, including brief summaries of published results.
Funding for the "maximum productivity" study has been provided by several sources, including the Canada-British Columbia Forest Resources Development Agreement (FRDA II), Forest Renewal BC, and Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. The study is currently funded by Forestry Investment Account – Forest Science Program.
A complete description of the "maximum productivity" study, and a summary of preliminary results, is provided in the following publication:
- Brockley, R.P. 2010. Effects of intensive fertilization on the foliar nutrition and growth of young lodgepole pine forests in the British Columbia interior: 12 year results. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 058.
- Berch, S.M., R.P. Brockley, J. Battigelli, and S. Hagerman. 2009. Impacts of repeated fertilization on fine roots, mycorrhizas, mesofuana, and soil chemistry under young interior spruce in central British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. 39:889–896.
- Brockley, R.P. and P. Sanborn. 2009. Effects of repeated fertilization on forest floor and mineral soil properties in young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in central British Columbia. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 052.
- Berch, S. and R.P. Brockley. 2008. Effects of repeated fertilization on fine roots, mycorrhizae, and soil mesofauna in young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in central British Columbia. B.C. Min. For. Range, Victoria, B.C. Exten. Note 84.
- Brockley, R.P. 2007. Effects of 12 years of repeated fertilization on the foliar nutrition and growth of young lodgepole pine in the central interior of British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. 37:2115–2129.
- Brockley, R.P. and D.G. Simpson. 2004. Effects of intensive fertilization on the foliar nutrition and growth of young lodgepole pine and spruce forests in the interior of British Columbia (E.P. 886.13): establishment and progress report. B.C. Min. For., Res. Br., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 018.