Analysis of variables influencing tree cork caliper in two consecutive cork extractions using cork growth index modelling

  • Last update: 05 August 2016
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  • Author: Joana Amaral Paulo, Helena Pereira, Margarida Tomé

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The influence of tree and stand variables, debarking intensity, and precipitation on the caliper of cork produced by a tree and on the evolution of cork caliper between consecutive cork extractions was researched. A total of 370 cork samples were collected in 23 permanent plots distributed across the cork production area in Portugal, covering a period from 1984 to 2010. Cork growth was evaluated using the cork growth index (cgi), defined as the radial width of the first eight complete years of cork growth after stripping. The differences in mean cgi at plot level between two consecutive cork growth periods (cgp) were assessed using nonparametric tests. A mixed model approach was used due to the nested structure of the data for modelling cgi value at tree level. The cgi of two consecutive cork extractions is linearly related at tree level. At plot level, the mean value of cgi decreased in 5 out of the 23 plots and increased in 2 plots for α = 0.05. The number of debarked branches and the variation of precipitation between two cgp were the variables that explained the largest part of the cgi evolution. However, significance of plot random parameters indicates that other variables are involved in the tree cgi evolution, pointing out to the need of further research. Tree size and precipitation during the cgp are related to the individual tree cgi. The effect of increasing stand density and debarking intensity on cork growth was not clear. Long term research based on permanent plot measurements and research trials is needed to clarify the impact of tree competition and debarking intensity.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonst ration under grant agreement No. 311919

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