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Experimental field test of six exotic tree species
An international cooperative project of research institutions and universities (lead: LWF Bayern)
What are exotic tree species?
Exotic tree species are species introduced to an area where they do not occur naturally. Such species must initially be planted, but may be able to regenerate naturally later.
Why planting exotic tree species?
For centuries, plant lovers, gardeners and foresters have been experimenting with exotic tree species in parks, gardens and forests. Their motivation is the fascination for the alien, the admiration for giant trees and an economic interest in fast growing timber trees. Most exotic tree species proved to be a failure. Few of them continue to be used, e.g., the Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), a species used worldwide in commercial plantations, and in Switzerland Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and red oak (Quercus rubra). Moreover, few experimental plantations with Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) exist in Switzerland (Fig. 1).
What is the aim of the research project ‚Exotic tree species‘?
The project aims at testing the suitability of 6 little-known exotic tree species for use in a future warmer and drier climate. An additional objective is to check whether the roots of the selected tree species will be sufficiently colonized with mycorrhizal fungi at the target sites.
Which methods are used?
The project is based on a long-term experimental field trial at 5 sites in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Swiss site is located near Mutrux (Canton of Vaud). More information regarding the research methods is provided here.
Expected results and relevance for practical application
The field trial enables us to judge how well the species survive, grow and stay free of pests and diseases, as well as to what degree their roots are mycorrhized.
The Swiss part of the project is funded through the research program ‚Forests and climate change‘ (in German) of the Federal Office of the Environment and WSL, and through a contribution of the Canton of Vaud.