Monday, December 21, 2009

Establishment of relationships of growth at 7-year old mahogany trees with selected site factors

Establishment of relationships of growth at 7-year old mahogany trees with selected site factors in low country wet zone, using GIS as a tool

Himesha Randeni and Upul Subasinghe
Paper presented for the 14th International Forestry and Environment Symposium 2009

Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) is an exotic tree, which is heavily adapted to the climatic conditions of wet and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka. Although the state sector manages mahogany with longer rotations, private sector expects to achieve the maximum timber yield within a shorter period. Due to the land scarcity, many of these mahogany plantations have been established in barren and rubber uprooted lands which were heavily degraded. Therefore the soil conditions and site factors directly affect the growth of the mahogany within short rotations.

The present study was carried out in a 7 years old mahogany monoculture plantation established in Gomaragala, in low country wet zone of Sri Lanka to find out the effect of soil and site factors to the mahogany tree growth. Extent of this forest is 20.7 ha and it is managed by a private plantation company. This forest has been divided into 2 lots for the purpose of administration and further divided into 240 plots of 20 perch each.

In order to identify the relationships, tree dbh and height were used as growth parameters. Slope, bedrock establishment and terrain were selected as selected site factors. The growth parameters (i.e.dbh and height) were measured for all the trees in plantation (one measurement from each plot). Slope and terrain as geographical parameters were measured of all 240 plots in the entire plantation.

Since the regression based methods were not adequate for both qualitative as well as quantitative parameter analysis, GIS based analysis was decided to use for the present study, using ArcView 3.3. In order to create digital maps, the survey plan of the selected forest was digitized and georeferanced using 10 ground control points collected by a GPS data receptor. Then the georeferanced base map was digitized to demarcate all the plots and other land marks. After that different maps were prepared in vector form separately for each parameter. However, for the analysis, all these vector layers were converted to raster layers. Raster layers were then reclassified and overlaid two or three layers at a time with the growth parameters to identify the effects. Then map analysis was completed to make decisions regarding tree growth in different site factors.

Results revealed that there are significant relationships between tree growth and the selected site parameters. However, the best conditions for the mahogany tree growth in the particular area are the slope between 11⁰-24⁰, and shallow bedrock prevalence and stony terrain.

Change of crown diameter with dbh of mahogany

Change of crown diameter with dbh of Swietenia macrophylla (mahogany)
even-aged monocultures

Shanika Lakmali and Upul Subasinghe
Paper presented for the 14th International Forestry and Environment Symposium 2009

Mahogany is one of the renowned timber species for its beautifully grained, hard and red-brown wood. It is an introduced timber species, dominated in Sri Lankan forest plantations with fast growth rates and higher timber value. Mahogany plantations are widely established in the intermediate zone and low country wet zone in Sri Lanka. Recently, private sector has started to establish of mahogany monocultures with shorter rotations to gain high income.

Due to the lack of research studies on mahogany, the objective of the present study was to establish an empirical model to predict crown diameter accurately using dbh. For this purpose, data were collected from 16 mahogany monocultures in Kalutara, Ratnapura and Matale districts. In order to represent the whole plantation, sixty trees were selected from good, moderate and poor areas from each plantation.

In order to build a reliable model, theoretical basic structures were developed assuming the crown diameter is a function of tree dbh. This basic structure was fitted to the data as linear, exponential, and logistic form separately for different growth types. In addition to the untransformed variables, transformations were also made whenever possible. Suitable candidate models were preliminary selected by R2 and residual distributions. After further analysis, it was proven that the best results were given by the logistic model structure for good, moderate and poor site types (R2 = 92.0%, 71.4%, 65.9% respectively). In order to eliminate the difficulty of using separate models for different growth types, the possibility of using a common model for all growth types were tested. For this reason, one way ANOVA was used for residuals of different growth types generated after fitting respective models. Results indicated that it was possible to use a common model and therefore the logistic form was re-fitted to pooled data.

The final model was “crown diameter = 0.645 + 2.682 / (1+exp (-0.356 (dbh –7.749)))” and it had a R2 of 60.9%.