While reclaimed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations in east Texas, USA have demonstrated similar aboveground productivity levels relative to unmined forests, there is interest in assessing carbon (C) and nutrients in aboveground components of reclaimed trees. Numerous studies have previously documented aboveground biomass, C, and nutrient contents in loblolly pine plantations; however, similar data have not been collected on mined lands. We investigated C, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg aboveground contents for first-rotation loblolly pine growing on reclaimed mined lands in the Gulf Coastal Plain over a 32-year chronosequence and correlated elemental rates to stand age, stem growth, and similar data for unmined lands. At the individual tree level, we evaluated elemental contents in aboveground biomass components using tree size, age, and site index as predictor variables. At the stand-level, we then scaled individual tree C and nutrients and fit a model to determine the sensitivity of aboveground elemental contents to stand age and site index. Our data suggest that aboveground C and nutrients in loblolly pine on mined lands exceed or follow similar trends to data for unmined pine plantations derived from the literature. Diameter and height were the best predictors of individual tree stem C and nutrient contents (R ≥ 0.9473 and 0.9280, respectively) followed by stand age (R ≥ 0.8660). Foliage produced weaker relationships across all predictor variables compared to stem, though still significant (P ≤ 0.05). The model for estimating stand-level C and nutrients using stand age provided a good fit, indicating that contents aggrade over time predictably. Results of this study show successful modelling of reclaimed loblolly pine aboveground C and nutrients, and suggest elemental cycling is comparable to unmined lands, thus providing applicability of our model to related systems.
Angel, Hannah Z.; Priest, Jeremy S.; Stovall, Jeremy P.; Oswald, Brian P.; and Williams, Hans M., "Individual tree and stand-level carbon and nutrient contents across one rotation of loblolly pine plantations on a reclaimed surface mine" (2019). Faculty Publications. 526.