The effect of major environmental factors on growth rates of five important tree species in Costa Rica Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xd07gw50q

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  • The growth of Alnus acuminata (HBK) 0. Ktze, Cupressus lusitanica Mill., Gmelina arborea Roxb, Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis Barr. & Golf., and Tectona grandis L. in Costa Rica and twenty seven soil and climatic factors were analyzed to determine the relationship between major environmental factors and growth rates of these five species. The growth of the species was compared within specific climatic zones of Costa Rica, and in the country as a whole. A reduced set of environmental factors was selected that best explains the species growth in the country and in specific geographic zones. The forestry plots used in this study were installed by the Forest Service of Costa Rica, complemented with a few private farmer plantations. Diameter at breast heigh (dbh), the height, and volume growth of the trees were used as dependent variables. Data for twelve climatic variables were obtained from the national meteorological stations. Fifteen soil characteristics were evaluated for each study site. The growth of Alnus was found to be related to relative humidity, the distribution of precipitation and the percentage soil base saturation. Within the range evaluated (78-80%) an increase in the mean annual relative humidity will depress growth of this species. For Cupressus it was found that soil texture (% silt content), altitude of the plots, soil base saturation, as well as cation exchange capacity and nitrogen in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, were the environmental factors most closely related to the growth of this species. For the altitudinal range evaluated (1100-2620 ta) a decrease in growth can be expected as altitude increases. Growth of Gmelina was found to be closely related to soil characteristics: available phosphorus, exchangeable sodium and potassium, cation exchange capacity and organic matter The genera]. observation from this regression analysis and experience in other countries is that Gmelina requires fertile soils and favorable physical properties for optimum growth. However, this species is growing satisfactorily in all areas below 500 meters of elevation in Costa Rica; no data is available above this elevation. Amount and distribution of precipitation, exchangeable potassium, magnesium, and sodium, soil texture, and an energy factor (number of hours of light and radiation, or interaction of these two variables) were the factors most closely related to the growth of P. caribaea in the country. For Tectona it was found that soil texture, temperature, and exchangeable potassium, calcium, and sodium were the factors most closely related to the growth of this tree in Costa Rica, The information developed in this study provides a better basis for understanding the growth requirements of these five species. However, planting guidelines must await the inclusion of additional data into the analysis.
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