The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework for managers to use in planning forest plantings that will produce wood with particular properties to meet specific market demands. It can also serve as a useful resource for potential investors, giving them practical tools for asking critical questions before committing funds - and to be greater participants in the evolving management process. The major emphasis is on tropical to semi-tropical forest plantations, as this is where most current and projected planted forests are, and will be, located. Some of the tree species discussed are natural to warm temperate forests, but can adapt to more tropical conditions.
Space limits preclude precise prescriptions on planting, spacing, pruning, overstory management, harvesting, primary processing or other procedures for particular tree species or settings. Many of these are described in other publications, such as: Schmincke, 2000; Mayhew and Newton, 1998; Bootle, 2005; Larson, 1969; Krishnapillay, 2000; Sankar et al., 2000; Hyytiäinen, 1992; Anon, 2000; Anon, 2003. Similarly, the realm of market niches for various woods is beyond the scope of this work, but are amply provided in other sources, such as: Anon, 2002; Keating and Bolza, 1982; Mullins and McNight, 1981; Summitt and Sliker, 1980; Record and Hess, 1943; Kribs, 1958.
We begin with a general discussion of wood properties and present four categories into one of which all woods can be placed. This is followed by a general characterization of these four wood categories in terms of basic properties. Using this as background specific wood properties are analyzed with respect to how they may be affected when grown under accelerated production in planted forests. In particular the following issues are discussed: (1) growth rate and strength properties, (2) growth rate and internal stresses, (3) growth rate and production of juvenile wood, (4) spacing and reaction wood, (5) drying defects in timber, (6) growth rate, soils and durability, (7) dimensional stability and chemical resistance, (8) growth rate and sapwood/heartwood ratio, (9) climate seasonality and wood properties, (10) genetics and wood quality, and (11) insect and disease management. Within each of these categories, practical examples are presented to put these concepts into real-world context.
Following this, we lay out two contrasting strategies for planted forest management: (1) the intensive management model, and (2) the diversified market model, describing how each is different in approach and goals. It is suggested that managers chose the model that best fits their long term plans.
Finally we provide a condensed discussion of key initial planning steps: legal analysis, site analysis, market assessment, and tree species choice and documentation. Planted forest management issues that need to be considered for five major situations are presented, followed by some concluding remarks.