Current issue: 55(3)
Under compilation: 55(4)
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula × P. tremuloides) is one of the fastest growing tree species in Finland. During the mid-1990s, a breeding programme was started with the aim of selecting clones that were superior in producing pulpwood. Hybrid aspen can also be grown as a short-rotation crop for bioenergy. To study clonal variation in wood and bark properties, seven clones were selected from a 12-year-old field trial located in southern Finland. From each clone, five trees were harvested and samples were taken from stem wood, stem bark and branches to determine basic density, effective heating value, moisture and ash content. Vertical within-tree variation in moisture content and basic density was also studied. The differences between clones were significant for almost all studied properties. For all studied properties there was a significant difference between wood and bark. Wood had lower ash content (0.5% vs. 3.9%), basic density (378 kg m–3 vs. 450 kg m–3) and effective heating value (18.26 MJ kg–1 vs. 19.24 MJ kg–1), but higher moisture content (55% vs. 49%) than bark. The values for branches were intermediate. These results suggest that the properties of hybrid aspen important for energy use could be improved by clonal selection. However, selecting clones based on fast growth only may be challenging since it may lead to a decrease in hybrid aspen wood density.
The ash content has been found to correlate with the fertility of peatlands. Relationship between height of 80-year-old stands and ash content of peat in topmost 30 cm layer was examined in Lithuanian conditions. On drained peatlands with ash content of peat from 3% to 8% pine stands increase in height. Ash content of peat being about 7% Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) stands on drained sites are found to be of equal height. Ash content of peat more than 8–9% has no significant effect on growth of pine or spruce stands. Birch (Betula verrucosa (B. Pendula Roth.) and Betula pubescens Erhrh.), stands are less sensitive to ash content of peat compared with other species. Black alder (Alnus glutinosa L. Gaertn.) stands occurred in sites with ash content of peat more than 8–10%. The height of the stands become equal both in drained and undrained sites in the cases where ash content of peat is about 16–18%. Ash (Fraxinus exelsior L.) stands attain high productivity on drained sites with ash content of peat about 20%.
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