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Jose Stape, North Carolina State University, jlstape@ncsu.edu (Presenter)

 

The use of Eucalyptus species for wood production is known in a very few States, like California and Florida. Recently, its expansion beyond Florida borders has been considered and depends on answering the following questions: i) are there species that can thrive the SE winter?; ii) if so, are there silvicultural protocols that lead to adequate forest productivity/profitability for the different site conditions?; iii) are the proposed rotations sustainable?; iv) are there pest and disease risks?; and v) are there negative environmental effects of these trees? These questions should be answered prior to plantation implementation and they are being addressed by the Forest Productivity Cooperative (www.forestproductivitycoop.org) using a regionwide network with 18 Eucalyptus trials planted in the SE in the spring of 2010 and 2011, screening 63 species (> 100 entries). Frost damages and growth evaluations occurred in April together with pests and diseases assessment. The cold 2010 winter allowed a satisfactory screening. The number of species that survived decreased with the increasing events of subfreezing temperatures, and the following showed potential for commercial use in North of Florida: E. benthamii, E. dorrigoensis, E. viminalis, E. dalrympleana, E.macarthurii and E.camaldulensis. For Center and South Florida, more species are suitable, including the very fast-growing E.grandis, and hybridization with the other six more cold-hardy species appears as an opportunity to be explored. On the silvicultural side, the nutrition trials installed in 2011 showed that a suite of nutrients (N, P, K) are required to guarantee adequate initial LAI development and final yields.