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Occurrence, proportion, and vertical distribution of red heartwood in paper birch

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Normal paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) wood has a clear and uniform color. However, some paper birch trees contain reddish-brown-, discolored wood known as red heartwood. Its occurrence, proportion, and vertical distribution were investigated. One hundred and fifty trees were randomly sampled from three stands located at the Montmorency Forest, 75km north of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. A subsample of 18 trees showing occurrence of red heartwood at stump height were felled, and 5cm thick disks were cut at every 0.5m of height. Red heartwood volume, proportion, and vertical distribution were determined from the disks. Trees with larger diameter at breast height and lower tree height had a higher probability of red heartwood occurrence. Red heartwood starts occurring in 40-year-old trees on average in the stands studied. The volume of red heartwood was positively correlated with tree age, and the proportion of red heartwood was positively related to tree age, and negatively related to the amount of sunlight on the live crown. Red heartwood proportion was 13.3% of the tree merchantable volume, mostly located under the live crown.

Le bois de bouleau à papier (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) est normalement clair et uniforme. Toutefois, le bois de couleur brun-rougeâtre présent chez certains bouleaux est appelé cœur rouge. Sa présence, sa proportion et sa distribution verticale dans l’arbre ont été étudiées. Cent cinquante arbres furent sélectionnés aléatoirement dans trois peuplements de la Forêt Montmorency à 75km au nord de la ville de Québec, Québec, Canada. Un sous-échantillon de 18 arbres présentant du cœur rouge à hauteur de souche ont été abattus et découpés en disques de 5cm d’épaisseur à tous les 5m afin de mesurer le volume, la proportion et la distribution verticale du cœur rouge. La probabilité de présence de cœur rouge était plus élevée chez les arbres petits et de fort diamètre. Le cœur rouge était présent dans les arbres de 40 ans et plus en moyenne dans les peuplements étudiés. Le volume de cœur rouge était corrélé positivement avec l’âge de l’arbre. Sa proportion était corrélée positivement avec l’âge de l’arbre et négativement avec la quantité de lumière atteignant la cime vivante. La proportion moyenne de cœur rouge était 13,3% du volume marchand de l’arbre et il était principalement situé sous la cime vivante.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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