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Ciencia e investigación agraria

versión On-line ISSN 0718-1620


DONOSO, Pablo J; SOTO, Daniel P; SCHLATTER, Juan E  y  BUCHNER, Carlos A. Effects of early fertilization on the performance of Nothofagus dombeyi planted in the Coastal Range of south-central Chile. Cienc. Inv. Agr. [online]. 2009, vol.36, n.3, pp.475-486. ISSN 0718-1620.

Native Nothofagus dombeyi growth rates excel in secondary forests and in some plantations, and the species has good timber quality. However, few have reported on the effects of fertilization on N. dombeyi plantations. This is a key matter since fertilization has environmental and financial costs, and therefore its use to increase growth and survival for production or restoration must be carefully evaluated. Here we evaluated the early effects of fertilization (control and three levels) using several performance variables (leaf properties, growth, plant quality, and survival) in a N. dombeyi plantation at a low elevation in the Coastal Range of south-central Chile, which has a rainy temperate climate and medium fertility soils. Four years after plantation and fertilization, there were no differences in growth among all treatments despite initial gains in the fertilized plants. Trees with a single leader represented 58% for the lower fertilization treatment and between 42-49% for the other treatments, although this difference was not significant. Survival was only significantly lower (75%) with the highest fertilizer doses. Although the results are not conclusive, they provide a good platform for discussion regarding the feasibility of fertilizing N. dombeyi plantations and using other early silviculture prescriptions for this species. The reported early growth rates are similar to P. radiata plantations and fast-growing hardwood species in other temperate and subtropical regions, suggesting that N. dombeyi plantations are a true alternative for timber and fiber production, which would decrease pressure on natural forests in Chile.

Palabras clave : Fast-growing tree species; hardwood plantations; mineral nutrition; plant quality; survival.

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