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Timing of growth reductions in black spruce stem and branches during the 1970s spruce budworm outbreak

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Spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens)) defoliation is known to regularly produce radial growth decrease in black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.) in the boreal forest of Quebec. Some studies have already shown that the first year of defoliation does not induce growth losses in the stem but could occur in other tree parts. We therefore examined the timing and duration of the growth reduction caused by the last outbreak in black spruce by also considering the branches. More than 79% of branches and 65% of stems exhibited a >40% growth decrease.The reduction was first registered in the upper part of the stem before being detected lower in the stem in 87% of the trees. Probabilities of growth reduction in the upper part of the stem were highest in 1976 and 1977. In the lower stem, the probabilities were highest in 1978. An interesting finding was that in 69% of the studied stands, the probability of growth reduction started earlier (1–2 years) in the branches than in the stem at 1.3 m. Branch analysis should be considered whenever questions arise in regard to the evolution of spruce budworm defoliation as well as the timing of observed growth reduction in black spruce.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2012

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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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