Pengfei Wu, Mulualem Tigabu, Xiangqing Ma, Per Christer Odén, Youlan He, Xintuo Yu and Zhiying He
A provenance trial involving 16 Chinese fir provenances was established in southern China in 1979, and biomass, nutrient content and nutrient use efficiency were assessed at the age of 23. One-way analysis of variance revealed significant inter-provenance variation (p<0.0001) in measured variables. The mean total biomass ranged from 98.8±5.3 to 163.3±4.2 t ha−1, and the stemwood accounted for 47–65% of the total biomass, followed by roots (11–24%), stembark (7.4–13.7%), and needles and branches (< 10 %). Much of the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were stored in the needles, although the concentration varies among provenances. Whole-tree nutrient use efficiency varied from 115.4±2.1 to 180.2±1.02 g g−1, while efficiency in stemwood production ranged from 53.9±3.1 to 106.3±1.1 g g−1. Provenances did not display consistent variation in all measured variables, suggesting the need for multiple criteria for selection in future tree improvement program. In conclusion, the study reveals the existence of considerable variation in biomass production and nutrient use efficiency among Chinese fir provenances that can be exploited for selecting desirable genotypes for enhancing productivity of Chinese fir plantations.