iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Effects of planting density on the distribution of biomass in a douglas-fir plantation in southern Italy

Pasquale A Marziliano (1)   , Vittoria Coletta (2), Giuliano Menguzzato (1), Antonino Nicolaci (3), Gaetano Pellicone (2), Antonella Veltri (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 368-376 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1078-007
Published: Sep 09, 2014 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

The effects of initial planting densities on the distribution of above-ground biomass of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco var. menziesii) were investigated in a plantation in southern Italy. Allometric equations designed for the plantation under study were used to estimate above-ground biomass and in particular partitioning to stem and crown compartments. A comparison between biomass estimated with allometric equations and biomass estimated with a constant biomass expansion factor (BEF) from the Italian National Forest Inventory (INFC 2005) was carried out. Moreover, a BEF calculated as the ratio of total above-ground or compartment biomass to stem volume was used to define the sensitivity of BEF to age and to tree density. Variation of above-ground standing biomass estimated with allometric equations was evaluated according to 6 differing planting densities (833, 1000, 1250, 1667, 2000 and 2500 trees per hectare). In the first 20 years after planting higher biomass stock was detected in high density plots, but after the age of 32 years differences between plots disappeared. When the plantation was 40 years old, a higher amount of total biomass was observed in plots of 2000 trees per hectare (about 405 Mg ha-1), a lower amount in plots of 2500 trees per hectare (about 381 Mg ha-1). The Douglas-fir plantation has a total above-ground carbon stock of 197 Mg C ha-1 at the age of 40 and a mean annual CO2 sequestration of 18 Mg ha-1 y-1. Constant BEF from INFC underestimated biomass on average by 11% for ages 15 and 25 and overestimated biomass on average by 16% for older ages. BEFs expressed as a ratio of biomass to stem volume significantly depended upon age and planting density, with decreasing trends for total, stem and crown compartments. Our results indicated that total above-ground biomass production is not influenced by different tree density if considered over a long period. If cutting cycles are short, planting density on average of 2000 trees per hectare may ensure high biomass production rates; if cutting cycles are longer, 1000-1200 trees per hectare could also be a valid choice.


Allometric Equations, Biomass, Biomass Expansion Factor, Carbon, Douglas-fir, Planting Density, Spacing Trial

Authors’ address

Pasquale A Marziliano
Giuliano Menguzzato
Department of Agraria, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, loc. Feo di Vito, I-89060 Reggio Calabria (Italy)
Vittoria Coletta
Gaetano Pellicone
Antonella Veltri
ISAFoM, Institute for Mediterranean Agriculture and Forest Systems, CNR - National Research Council, I-87037 Rende (CS, Italy)
Antonino Nicolaci
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Calabria, Campus di Arcavacata, I-87037 Rende (CS, Italy)

Corresponding author

Pasquale A Marziliano


Marziliano PA, Coletta V, Menguzzato G, Nicolaci A, Pellicone G, Veltri A (2015). Effects of planting density on the distribution of biomass in a douglas-fir plantation in southern Italy. iForest 8: 368-376. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1078-007

Academic Editor

Emanuele Lingua

Paper history

Received: Jul 18, 2013
Accepted: Jun 05, 2014

First online: Sep 09, 2014
Publication Date: Jun 01, 2015
Publication Time: 3.20 months

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