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Proceedings of Past Forest Nursery Association Meetings:

Developing Container Conifer Seedling Specifications... A Balanced Approach?
Eric van Steenis
1994: Moscow, ID
Seedling morphological specifications give "seedling growing contracts" something legal and binding that can be upheld in a court of law, and help guide the grower in producing stock of reasonable uniformity and quality to ensure a desirable level of plantation survival and establishment. However, seedling specifications should also insure that seedling customers obtain the maximum return from seed supplied, and encourage or allow the seedling growing industry to operate at the highest possible efficiency.

In British Columbia, seedling specifications are set by stock type (species/growing cycle/container type combination), based on what is perceived to be producible by growers at the time, and necessary for proper plantation establishment. In the past, biological and statistical principles were often not considered or adhered to when setting new standards and/or amending old ones. A typical scenario was to generate a caliper distribution for a new stock type, set minimum caliper at a 30% throw away rate, and target caliper slightly in excess of average. The assumptions being that lower caliper classes are genetically inferior, growers need something to strive for and... "bigger is better".

This presentation is not about seedling physiological quality, but about carbon fixation, as it relates to plants and photosynthesis. Using operational examples, it will attempt to challenge some existing assumptions and present a new way of relating stem caliper specifications to available nursery growing space per seedling.
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