Tree Growth and Nutrient Dynamics in Pine Plantations in Southern Brazil
ABSTRACT For the development of nutrient budget models to recommend lime and fertilizers for agricultural and forestry crops, curves of plant growth and nutrient accumulation are required. Information about how nutrients are partitioned between the different plant organs is also necessary, but still scarce for pine in Brazil. This study evaluated the growth, biomass partitioning, and nutrient dynamics in pine forests in southern Brazil. To this end, we assessed unthinned 2, 4, 6, and 8-year-old stands of Pinus taeda L. Three plots of 20 × 30 m per stand were delimited, in which three trees of different classes of diameter at breast height (DBH) were chosen. These trees were measured, felled, and the weight of their fresh components (leaves, branches, bark, and wood) was evaluated. Samples of each tree compartment and from the forest litter were taken to determine dry weight and nutrient content. From trees of the mean DBH class, the roots were also collected and the dry weight and nutrient contents determined. The same sampling procedure was carried out with soil for physical and chemical characterization. Regression models were adjusted to estimate growth, nutrient uptake, and nutrient use efficiency of pine trees, based on data collected in this and previous studies. The equations developed in this research can be used in nutrient budget models as well as in other simulation models, to establish recommendations of lime and fertilizers for Pinus taeda stands in southern Brazil.