Factors Influencing Tree Seedling Survival in Plantation Forestry: A Focus on Sustainable Forest Productivity
Forest plantations provide important ecological services and are key source of raw materials for the timber industry and other sectors. Planted forests are also seen as a plausible approach to increasing forest cover in an effort towards combating the effects of climate change. While the objectives of forest establishment in state forests is for social, cultural and environmental functions, private forestry practices mainly aim at attracting economic gains. Nonetheless, existing literature indicate that a significant proportion of forest plantations are still understocked while mature trees when harvested yield less profits due to poor tree forms attributed to delayed silvicultural treatments and planting of low-quality seedlings. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence seedling survival is a key step in addressing the predominant barriers to forest plantation establishment. The purpose of this review paper is to highlight the factors that influence seedling survival under plantation establishment, underscore the components that enable young seedlings withstand post-planting stress and provide recommendations towards raising quality seedlings. This article also aims at generating knowledge to help forest silviculturists to minimize plantation failures and seedling mortality for creation of adequately stocked stands to yield maximum ecological and economic gains at the end of the rotation period.
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