Open Journal of Forestry
2012. Vol.2, No.4, 225-231
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ojf) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojf.2012.24028
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 225
Site Productivity of Clone and Seed Raised Plantations of
Eucalyptus urophylla and Eucalyptus grandis
in Southeast Mexico
Reyna Pérez-Sandoval1, Armando Gómez-Guerrero1, Aurelio Fierros-González1,
William R. Horwath2
1Forestry Program, Postgraduate College, Montecillo, Mexico
2Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California-Davis, Davis, USA
Received June 27th, 2012; revised August 1st, 2012; accepted August 15th, 2012
The relationship between soil variables and forest productivity of Eucalyptus urophylla (Eu) and E. gran-
dis (Eg) was studied in commercial forest plantations (CFP) in Huimanguillo, Tabasco, Mexico. The
group of Eu included seed and clone raised plantations and the Eg group included only seed raised planta-
tions. Tree measurements and soil sampling were carried out at 56,500-m2 plots. Two soil depths (0 - 20
and 20 - 40 cm) were sampled and analyzed for physical and chemical properties. Site Index (SI), calcu-
lated at year 14 was used as indicator of forest productivity. Simple correlation, multiple and second order
regressions were used to test the effect of soil variables on productivity. Results showed that mean annual
increments (MAI) of Eu and Eg were comparable to other regions of the world reaching 49 m3·ha−1·y−1
across a range of low to high soil fertility gradient (15 to 80 m3·ha−1·y−1). For both species, regardless of
the production method (seed or clone), soil texture was the most relevant variable to explain variation in
productivity. Eu productivity was correlated to exchangeable Mg (0.3) and Al (0.3) in the 0 - 20 cm soil
depth and CEC (0.4) and exchangeable Al (0.6) in the 20 - 40 cm soil depth. Compared to clone planta-
tions, seed plantations showed higher correlations between soils properties and productivity. Aluminum
saturation was negatively related to Eg productivity. The highest correlation between soil and productivity
were found for Eg, with soil P-availability and aluminum saturation explaining 82% and 85% of the varia-
tion, respectively. This works shows that low fertility soils, previously used as pasturelands can be pro-
ductive for forest plantation purposes and contribute to carbon sequestration.
Keywords: Forest Plantations; Forest Soils; Site Index; Fast Growing Species
Commercial tropical forest plantations (CFP) can relieve
pressure on primary forests and meet timber supply needs,
support local economies and stimulate biomass and soil carbon
sequestration (Diaz-Balteiro & Rodriguez, 2006; Lima et al.,
2006). The increasing demand for wood products and the bene-
fits of sequestering carbon dioxide are important aspects of
forests plantation, however, more information is needed on soil
resource demands and environmental impacts from fast-grow-
ing forest species (Laclau, 2009). This information is especially
needed to plant trees on marginal lands such as degraded agri-
cultural and pasture and to ensure sustainable forest production
Eucalyptus is the most important genus planted in CFP
worldwide and shows a broad productivity response depending
on species, clones and soils factors (Onyekwelu et al., 2011).
Eucalyptus sp. have some of the highest net primary productiv-
ity rates up to 49 m3·ha–1·y–1 (Hubbard et al., 2010). Mean an-
nual increments of clone plantations of Eucalyptus sp. with no
fertilization, with fertilization and fertilization combined with
irrigation are 33, 46 and 62 m3·ha–1·y–1, respectively (Stape et
al., 2010). The high biomass accumulation potential makes
Eucalyptus sp. a good prospect for timber, wood products and
carbon sequestration projects. Afforestation with fast growing
species has been proposed as a strategy for mitigating carbon
dioxide emissions but there is a dearth of information on the
sustainability of these plantations and more information is
needed to broadly implement carbon sequestration projects,
especially on low productivity sites.
Some tropical areas of the world have the highest potential to
support CFP with fast-growing species due to adequate soil
moisture and favorable climatic conditions; however, soil nu-
trient availability negatively impact net primary productivity
and sustainable tree growth (Ryan et al., 2010). These areas
also often contain highly weathered soils, which may affect
nutrient availability and present other issues such as high ex-
changeable Al (Van Wambeke, 1992). Information on the pro-
ductivity of forest systems around the world is important to
project future trends in carbon cycle and timber products. The
Southeast region of Mexico has a high potential for CFP and
since the 90’s specific government programs have supported
the establishment of CFP with Eucalyptus sp. (Ceccon & Mar-
tinez-Ramos, 1999). However, few studies on productivity and
soil factors in tropical Southeast Mexico have been done to
support implementation of CFP.
Results from previous studies of world forest systems show
that the principal abiotic factors influencing tree growth are
related to water supply and soil physical properties (Gonçalves
R. PÉREZ-SANDOVAL ET AL.
et al., 1997; Fisher & Binkley, 2000; Stape et al., 2004). The
effects of soil chemical and biological properties on soil pro-
ductivity are more difficult to demonstrate, because the dura-
tion of their changes as a result of forest activities is less pre-
dictable (Grigal, 2000). Soil-plant relationship studies are also
important to make accurate forest productivity assessments and
optimize carbon sequestration efficiency in climate change mitiga-
tion projects (Laffan, 1994; Coops et al., 1998; Stape et al., 2004).
The aim of this study was to find soil variables that show a
relationship with the productivity of CFP of Eucalyptus uro-
phylla and Eucalyptus grandis on Haplic Acrisols and Gleyic
Cambisols (FAO, 1989) formerly occupied by extensive cattle
ranching. The study performed in 56 sites provide a compre-
hensive analysis of soil effects on CFP productivity, encom-
passing an array of soil physical and chemical properties to
investigate responses of seed and clone raised plantations in
Materials and Methods
Site Location and Description
Fifty six 500-m2 plots were randomly established on 21 areas.
Larger areas had 2 - 3 plots with at least 400 m and with ap-
parent contrast in productivity. plantation areas of commercial
forestry operations located in the municipality of Huimangillo,
Tabasco, in Mexico (17˚19’ North latitude and y 93˚23" West
longitude) (Figure 1). The 56 sampling sites included two spe-
cies, Eucalyptus urophylla (Eu) (4956 ) and E. grandis (Eg)
(756). Eg plantations included seed and clone raised (949),
and (1949 ) respectively. A set (2149) of sites with a seed-
clone mix of 50/50 was also analyzed. All Eg plantations were
seed raised. Ages for Eu and Eg plantations ranged from 4 to13
years old. Mean annual temperature and precipitation at the
study area are 2˚C and 2260 mm, respectively (Figure 1). Soils
types are Haplic Acrisol and Gleyic Cambisol (FAO, 1989).
Previous land use of the sites was pasturelands and conversion
to forestry was done to explore systems with a higher return on
investment compared to cattle ranching alone. The site prepara-
tion for the establishment of all plantations is the same and
includes herbal stratus removal, sub-soiling (60 cm depth) and
initial fertilization (18-46-00).
Soil samples were collected from each plot. Five sampling
points on the plot were used to make a composite soil sample
for two soil depths 0 - 20 and 20 - 40 cm. Soil analyses were
performed according to the Mexican Norm (NOM-021- REC-
NAT-2000, 2001), including, pH (KCl 1M, 1:2), organic matter
(OM) (Walkley and Black), total N (TN) (Kjeldahl), available P
(P) (Bray y Kurtz 1), cation exchange capacity (CEC), ex-
changeable cations (Ca, K, Mg), (ammonium acetate 1 N, pH 7),
exchangeable Aluminum (E-Al) (Barnhissel and Bertsch), soil
texture (Bouyoucos) and soil moisture at field capacity (FC)
(–0.03 MPa) and soil bulk density (Paraffin method). Alumi-
num saturation (Al-Sat) was estimated as E-Al/(Ca, K, Mg) +
E-Al) × 100 (Van Wambeke, 1992). Subscripts 1 and 2 will be
associates to the abbreviations of soil variables for the two soil
depths 0 - 20 and 20 - 40 cm, respectively.
Site Index (SI)
The height of five dominant trees from each plot was meas-
ured to estimate SI. The SI was estimated from an equation
relating tree height and age using a base age of 14 years. The
equation was developed from the measurements of 1192
500-m2-circle plots located around the study area. The general
SI equation describing the trend for all plant production meth-
ods, seed, clone, and the mix, was as follows.
where SI = site index (m); Hd = average height of five dominant
trees in the plot (m), Ai = age of the plantation and Ab = base
age of 14 years. The analytical method for the SI equation is
explained in Gómez-Tejero et al. (2009).
Individual tree volume was estimated from Equation (2) de-
rived from the analysis of 635 trees, from which 459 and 176
were seed and clone raised, respectively. Both equations, for SI
and individual tree volume were developed by De los Santos
(2009, unpublished data) with measurements of trees growing
in the same study area. Stand volume per hectare and potential
productivity (m–3·ha–1·y–1) was estimated using the average tree
volume of each site and expanding the measurements to 1100
trees per ha. Depending on the plantation management and final
Study sites locations and climate conditions.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
R. PÉREZ-SANDOVAL ET AL.
timber products in the study area, the number of trees per ha
varies from 800 to 1100. However, we estimated potential pro-
ductivity with 1100 trees per hectare as this was the stock den-
sity for pulp production in the study plots used in this study.
The stand volume divided by the age of the plantation gave an
estimate of the mean annual increment of the plantations.
where: V = Tree volume in m3; D = diameter in cm; H = height
in m; and A= age in years.
A correlation analysis was used to explore how soil variables
explain variations in productivity, as represented by SI across
sites. Multiple regressions using the stepwise selection method
were used to determine the combination of soil variables that
explained the variation of forest productivity. Also, second
order equations to explain SI were tested. Second order equa-
tions were used to determine if any of the soil variables showed
a threshold at which the productivity of the plantations was
reduced. Because no all combinations of plant production me-
thods and species were established on each area, the analyses
were carried out in three ways: 1) Analyzing all Eu sites re-
gardless of production method, Seed, Clone or Mix; 2) Ana-
lyzing Eu by production method; and 3) Analyzing the group of
Eg plantations that were all seed raised. All analyses were done
using Statistical Analysis System (SAS) for Windows 9.0.
For presentation purposes, the subscripts, global, is used for the
analyses of Eu plantations regardless of the origin of the plants
(Seed, Clone or Mix). The subscripts seed, clone, and mix are used
for the analyses of Eu plantations raised from seed, clone and
mix, respectively. In analogous way, the subscript grandis denotes
the analysis for Eg plantations which were all seed raised plan-
The mean soil pH among the study sites in the 0 to 20 cm
soil was 4.8 and ranged from 3.7 to 5.6. Clay content ranged
from 9 to 45% in the 0 to 20 cm soil. The highest coefficient of
variation of soil properties were seen for P-availability, ex-
changeable cations and base saturation with increased variation
with soil depth. Cation exchange capacity decreased from 8.2
Cmolckg-1 in the first soil depth to 5.8 Cmolckg–1 in the second
soil depth. Aluminum saturation ranged from 4.2% to 91% in
all soil depths. Other soil parameters and basic statistics for the
study sites are shown in Table 1.
Tree Growth Parameters
SI varied from 10 to 35 m. Clone and seed plantations
showed variation in potential mean annual increment in the
range 7 - 80 m3·ha–1·y–1. The highest productivity for Eg was 50
m3·ha–1·y–1 (Figure 2). The relationship between SI and mean
annual increment correlated well (R2 = 0.87). Other stand pa-
rameters are shown in Table 2.
SIglobal and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus urophylla
Regardless of the plant production method, soil surface vari-
ables (0 - 20 cm depth) that were significantly correlated with
SI were clay (0.6), sand (–0.4), and exchangeable Mg (0.3), Al
Soil variables at the study sites.
Soil Depth (cm)
0 - 20 20 - 40
Variable MeanMinMax CV (%) Mean Min MaxCV (%)
pH 220.127.116.11 6 4.8 3.9 66
OM (%) 5.81.611.6 38 3.5 1.4 7.440
P (mg·kg–1) 18.104.22.168 81 2.4 0.1 12.8121
K (CmolcKg–1)0.10 0.4 100 0.1 0 0.4 100
Ca (CmolcKg–1)0.80 3.2 88 0.5 0 2.8100
Mg (CmolcKg–1)0.20 0.6 100 0.2 0 0.6100
CEC (CmolcKg–1)8.22.613.2 29 5.8 2.6 10.531
BS (%) 15.41 47.3 77 13.3 0.6 65.191
E-Al (CmolcKg–1)0.6 0.11.1 33 0.5 0.1 2.180
Al-Sat (%) 40.31287.5 50 45.8 4.2 90.947
BD g/cm3 0.60.41.6 50 0.6 0.4 1.433
TN (%) 0.20.10.3 50 0.1 0 0.4100
FC (%) 23 1034 25 22.2 13 3522
Clay (%) 25.59 45 32 31.3 15 6431
Silt (%) 15.72 60 54 14.5 7 2630
Sand (%) 58.41177 20 54.3 25 7321
n = 56; CV = Coefficient of variation; OM = Organic matter; P = Phospho-
rus; K = Potassium; Ca = Calcium; CEC = Cation exchange capacity; BS =
Base saturation; Al = Aluminum; E-Al = Exchangeable aluminum; BD =
Bulk density; TN = Total nitrogen; FC = Field capacity.
Relationship between Site index and potential mean annual incre-
ments for seed and clone rised plantations of Eucalyptus urophylla
(Eu) and E. grandis (Eg). White diamond = Eu-seed; black diamond
= Eu-clone; Circle = Eu-mix; Triangle = eg-seed.
(0.3). For the 20 - 40 cm soil depth, the soil variables that
significantly correlated to SI were Clay (0.6), Sand (–0.6) ex-
changeable Al (0.6), CEC (0.4), and Silt (0.3) (Correlation ma-
trix not shown). A seven-variable model explained 62% of the
variation of SIglobal (Table 3, Equation (3)). Soil variables of the
first depth included in the model were aluminum saturation,
exchangeable calcium, and clay content. Second soil depth
variables included in the model were sand, exchangeable alu
minum, CEC, and field capacity. There were not second order
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 227
R. PÉREZ-SANDOVAL ET AL.
Stand Parameters and coefficient of variation (in parenthesis) for the plantations studied
Specie/Group IS (m) BDH (cm) Basal Area
Mean Annual Increment
(m3·ha–1·y–1) Age (y)
Eu/Global 23.8 (24%) 18.7 (19%) 12.4 (40%) 236 (54%) 33.3 (56%) 7.8 (42%)
Eu/Seed 29.2 (16%) 21.8 (18%) 18.1 (30%) 361.7 (43%) 49.3 (42%) 7.6 (30%)
Eu/Clone 20.3 (29%) 16.9 (19%) 11.3 (41%) 171.7 (49%) 23.7 (74%) 9.0 (39%)
Eu/Mix 23.9 (16%) 17.7 (12%) 12.7 (34%) 188.1 (35%) 34.4 (38%) 5.8 (36%)
Eg/Seed 26.3 (14%) 22.9 (13%) 11.4 (36%) 392.9 (34%) 35.7 (34%) 11.0 (0%)
Eu = Eucalyptus urophylla; Eg = Eucalyptus grandis; Global = includes all plantations (seed, clone and mix).
Regression equations to explain the site index in the study sites.
Equation Regression model R2 P ≤
3 ISglobal=22.5 – 7.6 (Sand2) + 7.6 (Al2) – 0.16 (Al-Sat1) + 0.38 (CEC2) – 0.35 (FC2) – 4.36 (Ca1) + 0.30 + (Clay1) 0.62 0.001
4 ISseed = 26.86 – 2.21 (pH1) + 1.2 (CEC2) + 0.11 (Al-Sat2) 0.96 0.001
5 ISclone = 8.39 + 0.45 (Clay2) 0.36 0.007
6 ISmix = –14.99 +0.56 (Clay1)+3.46 (OM2)+ 0.61 (BS2)+0.109 (Al-Sat2) 0.58 0.054
7 ISgrandis =42.41 – 0.31 (Al-Sat1) + 0.32 (Silt2) 0.94 0.003
ISglobal=Site index, regardless the plant production method; Subscripts 1 and 2 are for the 0 - 20 and 20 - 40 cm soil depth, respectively. Soil variables abbreviations and
subscripts as explained in Table 1.
equations that significantly explained SIglobal (Table 3).
SIseed and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus Urophylla
For the seed plantations, a three-variable equation with soil
chemical variables explained 96% of the variability associated
with SIseed (Table 3, Equation (4)). Second order equations
showed that 60 to 70% of the variation associated with SIseed
could be explained with clay or sand content in the second
depth (20 to 40 cm) (Figure 3). The sum of silt plus clay was
also significant with quadratic effects (not shown).
SIclone and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus urophylla
Except for clay content in the 20 to 40 cm at the second soil
depth the relationships between SIclone and soil variables were
not statistically significant. Clay content explained 36% (P ≤
0.007) of the variation of SIclone (Table 3, Equation (5)). A sec-
ond order equation with clay content significantly improved the
relationship for SIclone explaining 47% of the variation (Figure 4).
SImix and Soil Variables in Eucalyptus urophylla
A four-variable model explained 58% of the variation of SImix
(Table 3, Equation (6)). Linear or second order equations did
not help to improve the relationship in mixed plantations. None
of the simple correlations between SImix and soil variables was
SIseed and Soil Variables in Eucaly pt us grandis
For Eg a two-variable model explained 94% of the SIseed
variation (P ≤ 0.003) (Table 3, Equation (7)). Aluminum satu-
ration and P availability in the first and second soil depth re-
spectively, explained more than 70% of the variation with sin-
gle lineal relationships (Figure 5).
Soil Variables and Tree Growth Parameters
Regardless of the production method (seed or clone), soil
texture was the most relevant variable to explain variation in
productivity for both species. According to the Mexican classi-
fication (NOM-021-RECNAT-2000) the soils at the study sites
are acidic, with low P availability and low soil fertility inferred
from low CEC, TN and OM. Results showed no correlation
between TN and BD with tree growth. This finding was similar
to that observed in Eu and Eg CFP growing in Alfisols and
Ultisols in the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz (Delgado et al.,
2009). The soil preparation practices and the humid environ-
ment in the study sites may have favored low soil strength. The
average soil BD in the study sites was 0.6 g·cm–3 indicating that
physical constraints for root growth are minimal, which likely
explains the lack of relationship with forest productivity (Go-
mez et al., 2002). However, under pastureland use these soils
can show soil strength as high as 9 MPa (Geissen et al., 2009).
Stand parameters indicate that soils in the study area can po-
tentially reach high levels of mean annual increment (MAI)
with values from 23 to 49 m3·ha–1·y–1. This productivity falls in
the range of that of some eucalyptus hybrids plantations (E.
urophylla × E. grandis) in South America with MIA from 15 -
60 m3·ha–1·y–1 (Lugo et al., 1998; ITTO, 2009; Pagano et al.,
2009; Almeida et al., 2010). Rodríguez et al. (2009) reported
MAI in plantations of Eucalyptus nitens in Chile ranging from
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
R. PÉREZ-SANDOVAL ET AL.
Relationship between site Index and clay content (left) and sand content (right) at the 20 - 40 cm soil depth for seed
raised plantations of Eucalyptus urop hylla .
Relationship between site Index and clay content in the 20
- 40 cm soil depth for clone raised plantations of Eucalyp-
47 to 52 m3·ha–1·y–1. Under intensive management practices,
genetic improvement and high productivity sites, Eucalyptus
CFP produced 60 m3·ha–1·y–1 in MAI (Stape et al., 2006; Stape
et al., 2010). With similar species used in this study, Eu, Eg and
hybrids in low fertility soils (Dystrophyc Yellow Argisolsol) in
Brazil showed similar productivity to our results with 1250 mm
of annual precipitation (Almeida et al., 2004). Seppänen (2002)
estimated that Eu and Eg can reach a productivity of 40
m3·ha–1·y-1 in tropical regions of Mexico in high-fertility soils,
but the results indicate that higher productivity is likely possible.
SIglobal and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus urophylla
Multiple regression equations with statistical significant pa-
rameters have the advantage of identifying the most relevant
variables to explain productivity. However in our results the
disadvantage of the seven-variable model is its contradicting
outcomes, such as factors like exchangeable aluminum and
field capacity that showed an opposite effect. However, the
correlation analysis with single variables showed positive cor-
relations with of Clay1, Clay2, Silt2 and CEC2, Mg1, indicating
that for all plantations of Eu, soil texture is the most important
variable limiting its productivity. CEC is indirectly related to
soil texture in that finer textured soils often have increased CEC.
Other soil fertility variables like CEC2, Mg1 were also impor-
tant but the transformation of these variables to test the quad-
ratic effect did not improve the correlations with SIgloba .
The positive correlation between SIglobal and exchangeable
aluminum (E-Al1 and E-Al2) is an unexpected result because
E-Al is related to low pH. Exchangeable aluminum prevents
fine root growth limiting the absorptive capacity of the root
system. However, some reports point out that Eucalyptus sp.
show some degree of tolerance to exchangeable aluminum
(Silva et al., 2004). Negative relationships with Sand1 and Sand
2 confirm the importance of fine soil particles to increase water
holding capacity of the surface soil. Soil texture indirectly in-
fluences productivity due to its influence on soil matrix poten-
tial and water storage, which directly effects soil water avail-
ability. Eucalyptus species respond rapidly to changes soil wa-
ter availability increasing productivity (Hubbard et al., 2010).
Acosta (2005) found similar results for Eu and Eg with lower
productivity in sandy soils. When soil are prone to anoxic con-
ditions due to high intensity rain events, coarse texture soil
could be the best sites for Eu and Eg (Delgado et al., 2009).
The Equation (3) includes other chemical properties whose
contribution in the model is not easy to explain. For example,
Al and Ca have positive and negative effects, respectively,
when the opposite relationship should have been expected.
Although Equation (3) in Table 3 explains 62% of the variation
of SIglobal, is a complex model for interpretation. Therefore, the
explanations based on simple correlations are a result with
more practical application. More importantly, when the rela-
tionship with soil variable describes a second order the trend is
more useful as it shows a threshold for productivity.
SIseed and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus urophylla
Only CEC2 (Table 3, Equation (2)) shows the expected ef-
fect, indicating that for the same values of pH1 and Al-Sat2,
SIseed increases with higher values of CEC2. Unexpectedly,
higher SIseed values correlate to low pH and higher saturation of
Al. This result confirms that Eu performs well in acidic soils
with high exchangeable aluminum (Henri, 2001). Results also
indicate that, soil acidity in the study sites has not reached crit-
ical levels that prevent P availability for Eu. The levels of pro-
ductivity found in this work are comparable with that of
P-fertilized plots of Eu in China with 1800 mm of annual pre-
cipitation, where the productivity of Oxysols is limited by P
availability (Xu et al., 2005).
Soil texture is very important for the productivity of Euca-
lyptus sp. plantations. The second order equation describing
clay content in the 20 to 40 cm soil indicates that productivity
will increase until clay content in the second soil depth reaches
50%. Forest productivity decreases when sand content exceeds
35% (Figure 2). Thresholds of soil properties are very impor-
tant as they are useful to screen productive forest soils. The
results of this work are in accordance to the findings of Alm-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 229
R. PÉREZ-SANDOVAL ET AL.
eida et al. (2004) who reported better productivity of Eucalyp-
tus spp. plantations growing in clay loam soil textures than
stands growing in clay soils.
SIclone and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus urophylla
The productivity of the Eu clone group was not related to soil
variables. The relationships between SIclone and soil factors
were poor. The productivity of clones of Eu was not negatively
influenced by exchangeable aluminum or P availability. How-
ever, as in the rest of the groups, soil texture is the more rele-
vant factor related to site productivity. The range where SIclone
increases is from 15 to 40% of clay content in the second depth,
but higher clay content may lead to reduced productivity (Fig-
ure 3). Soil texture and available soil water capacity are the
most important factors to explain productivity of Eu, Eg and
hybrids of these species (Almeida et al., 2009).
SImix and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus urophylla
The variation of SImix could not be significantly explained
with one soil variable. An equation with four soil variables
accounted for 58% of the variation of SImix. The variability
associated with the mixed plantations made it difficult to find
equations to explain the SImix variation. The four soil variables
included in the model (Table 3) showed positive relationship
with tree growth. The positive effects of clay, organic matter
and base saturation are expected results, but not that for alumi-
num saturation. However, taking into account that only four of
the 56 plots showed pH values lower than 4.7, results suggest
that the acidity of the study soil in the present is not critical for
Eu, but negative effects may occur if the soil pH is lowered by
soil management such as fertilization or shorter rotation inter-
vals. Some tree species shows tolerance to soil acidity and
moderate activities of soil aluminum are not harmful for some
species of Eucalyptus (Silva et al., 2004).
SIgrandis and Soil Variables for Eucalyptus grandis
Contrary to Eu, Eg plantations were negatively influenced by
aluminum saturation and positively influenced by silt content.
This result is in accordance to Silva et al. (2004) who reported
that under controlled experiments Eg was less tolerant to soil
aluminum than Eu. Indeed, low to moderate aluminum activi-
ties do not inhibit fine root elongation in some species and
clones of Eu. This aluminum tolerance has been reported to be
related to an internal detoxification process with malic acid
(Silva et al., 2004). The results of this work suggest that Eg
productivity is negatively influenced after aluminum saturation
reaches 50% (Not shown).
This finding is also consistent to the availability of P, which
is dependent on pH (Figure 5). Eg showed to be more sensible
to P availability, this difference between species may be related
to the capacity of internal P recycling. Many species of Euca-
lyptus grows in P-deficient soils recycle P internally efficiently
P (Xu et al., 2005).
Eg productivity is also explained by silt content, which re-
lates to water holding and soil fertility characteristics of the
surface soil. The importance of surface soil texture for forest
species has been demonstrated in other works and is related to
the ability of the soil to provide water to plants in drought sea-
son (Gomez et al., 2002; Garcia-G et al., 2004). The Eg group
showed the highest correlation between SIseed and soil variables
Relationship between Aluminum saturation in the 0 - 20 cm soil depth
and extractable-P in the 20 - 40 cm soil depth for seed raised planta-
tions of Eucalyptus grandis.
with a lower number of variables, which indicates a high poten-
tial for developing accurate prediction of productivity from soil
Soils at the study sites have low fertility, are acidic and show
low availability of phosphorus. Nevertheless, forest productiv-
ity of Eucalyptus urophylla (Eu) and E. grandis (Eg) planta-
tions in the study sites is high and comparable to that of other
high productivity regions of the world. Regardless of the Euca-
lyptus species or the plant production method for the establish-
ment, soil texture was the most relevant soil variable to explain
changes in productivity. Soil texture also showed both, linear
and quadratic relationships with productivity. The relationship
between soil texture and soil water is key factor to consider in
the establishment of forest plantations of Eucalyptus in South-
east Mexico. Aluminum saturation is not negatively related to
the productivity of Eu but a negative relationship was seen for
Eg. Soil phosphorus availability showed positive correlation
with the productivity of Eg but not with that of Eu. This works
shows that low fertility soils, previously used as pasturelands
can be productive for plantation forestry purposes and could be
considered for biomass carbon sequestration projects.
We thank the support of Forestaciones Operativas de México
SA de CV (FOMEX). Authors and FOMEX declare no to have
conflict of interests for publishing this work.
Acosta, B., Márquez, O., Mora, E., García, V., & Hernández, R. (2005).
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