Effect of spacing on early growth of Pinus Caribaea in the Albertine Silvicultural Zone, Uganda
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This study assesses the effect of spacing on early growth of Pinus caribaea where height and Dbh growth and branching characteristics were assessed. It was carried out on trial plots that were established in 2012 at Bujawe Central Forest Reserve in Corewoods Plantation located in Hoima district of Western Uganda. Data was collected from experimental plots established as a complete randomized block design with three spacing treatments that is 2.7*2.7m, 3*3m and 4*4m which were replicated three times. For each treatment a representative sample of 30 trees that were surrounded by trees in each of the four directions were assessed for height, Dbh, number of branches and branch size. Data was analysed using one way ANOVA and the results showed no significant difference in height and Dbh growth and number of branches however a significant difference in branch size was observed amongst the treatments. The lack of significant difference in height and Dbh can be attributed to the site being fertile and lack of competition for resources such as nutrients, space and light amongst the trees at age six. These results suggest that in order to produce good quality timber, planting should be done at 2.7 * 2.7 m since it produces small branch sizes which reduce the effects of knots on timber strength compared to the other treatments. However it is not economical to plant Pinus caribaea at 2.7 * 2.7 m because of high cost of seedlings incurred yet it produces a lot of waste thinnings, it is therefore economical to plant at 3*3m spacing since it minimizes seedling costs and provides more commercial thinning volume compared to 2.7 * 2.7 m and 4 * 4 m.