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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1986) 31(2): 9–14
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Research article
Snow damage in plantation forests in Southern New Zealand

D.W Guild

In May 1983 severe snow damage was sustained by plantation production forests in Otago and Southland, New Zealand. Snow in New Zealand tends to be denser (wetter) than in continental climates, and the principal plantation species — radiata pine — is not well adapted to shed snow. Nevertheless, on all but the most snow-prone sites, heavily pruned and thinned radiata pine planted at wide initial spacing appears to be capable of producing an acceptable final crop. Good control of brush weeds is essential to avoid unnecessary snow damage in young stands, and there is potential for a further reduction by breeding for multinodal branching and high wood density. On the worst sites, the forest manager has the choice of leaving the sites unplanted, planting them in radiata pine and accepting the damage, or planting them in a more snow-tolerant species such as Douglas fir or Eucalyptus delegatensis.
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