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Pioneering the Future

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Forest fertilization: Trends in knowledge and practice compared to agriculture

 

Abstract:

Plantation forestry continues to intensify and grow in area, with a concomitant increase in fertilizer demand. Virtually no fertilizer is used on nonplantation
forest systems. The scale of fertilizer use per ha per year in a small proportion of plantation systems is now similar to some agricultural production
systems, but the total area of plantation forestry remains only a few percent of that used for agriculture. Hence, in a global context, forestry is a minor user of
fertilizers. In relation to the knowledge base for fertilizer management, forestry and agriculture have similar practical questions that drive research, i.e. nutritional
diagnosis and the development of fertilizer prescriptions that optimize production, environmental and economic goals. Much of this research is soil-climate-speciesmanagement
specific. During the past few decades, solution culture methods were developed that maintain stable internal nutrient concentrations, which were
essential for improving our understanding of nutrient-growth relationships. The development of plant production models that include the mechanistic simulation
of nutrient supply and uptake are at an early stage of development. Plantation forestry and agriculture lack a mechanistic basis for evaluating base cation
availability that accounts for Al-pH-root interactions. Further developments in this field could assist in rationalizing the use of lime. There is a lack of resources
available in plantation forestry, and probably also in agriculture in some countries, to develop and refine calibrations of traditional types of soil and foliar analyses.
Further testing of soil solution approaches is warranted. Further research on resource use efficiency, wood quality, rhizosphere relations, and mixed-species
systems in relation to fertilization is also warranted.

 


 

Forest fertilization