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Optimizing silviculture for bioenergy production in Norway,

Awarded: NOK 2.0 mill.

The current focus on bioenergy makes it likely that the future demand for wood products from forestry calls for a more intensive silviculture that produces valuable timber and energy wood. Silvicultural means to increase wood production include species se lection, density management, genetic improvement, and fertilization. Density management is the simplest method and density has a large effect on total wood production per area. Management affects density during establishment, either by planting at a certa in density or by preparing for natural regeneration, or during thinning operations. For both methods, no quantitative decision support tools are available in Norway that describe the effect of density on growth and could help managers to decide about the optimal density. Three tools will be developed to improve density management: (1) For thinning, national forest inventory data and additional data collections will be used to establish and test models that describe the reduction in yield with increasing t hinning intensity. (2) During thinning operations the harvester driver has very little guidance in regulating density to the chosen target. A laser scanner will be developed that detects current density and diameter distribution in the stand. (3) A series of planting density trials will be used to develop models that allow quantifying the effect of initial density on total yield. In combination, these three tools will allow forest owners, managers and harvester drivers to better manage for optimal density and therefore optimize silviculture for bioenergy production in Norway.

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