Assess inter-tree competition in permanent plots established in un-debarked, even-aged stands located in Portugal by i) comparing with the self-thinning line and ii) assessing when stand density affects cork production, iii) stand structure and iv) tree relative growth rate (RGR) pattern over tree size. Spacing coefficient (SC) values < 1.25 are assumed to affect cork production; therefore, detecting when stand density is approaching this value is important. Relative spacing (RS) is easier to evaluate, being important to find the RS value equivalent to a SC = 1.25.
The formation pruning is an operation usually defined in forest management plans established for cork oak stands plantations. It aims at removing tree branches, usually the lower ones, therefore promoting the development of a long-straight stem, at least up to the expected future debarking height. This will later on facilitate cork harvesting operations.
It is unclear if the pruning intensity affects the tree growth. This factsheet shows the results of a case study where tree growth was compared between trees not pruned, and trees subject to two pruning intensities.