Black alder is a scattered, widespread and short-lived species that thrives in low-lying damp and riparian places. It has a use in flood control, stabilization of riverbanks and in functioning of the river ecosystems. To thrive, precipitation must exceed 1500 mm if access to groundwater is not possible. Alders are unusual among European trees in that they fix nitrogen. To regenerate naturally, alder requires high levels of both light and moisture, usually achievable only on disturbed sites. Growth rates up to ages 7–10 are very fast but then slow rapidly. Sixty to seventy years is the maximum rotation for growing timber if heart rot is to be avoided. Maximum mean annual increments range from 4 to 14 m3 ha–1 year–1. Alder wood is used for energy, as fibre for paper and particle board and, most profitably, in joinery as solid wood or veneer. Logs must be at least 3 m long and ideally 50–60 cm diameter. Aspects of plantation silviculture are discussed with emphasis on thinning, which needs to be started early and to be heavy and frequent around selected final crop trees to achieve marketable timber before heart rot sets in.
|Publication status||Published - 2010|