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Differences in crown characteristics between black (Picea mariana) and white spruce (Picea glauca)

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Abstract:

Black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) are phylogenetically proximal species that differ in productivity. Crown characteristics of these two species have not been extensively studied, in spite of the importance of these two species to the Canadian boreal forest and the importance of tree crowns for understanding and modelling tree growth. In this paper, we characterize and compare the crown lengths, crown profiles (i.e., radii), shapes, and surface areas of these two species using 65 white spruce and 57 black spruce trees destructively sampled in the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada. Crown length was measured on every sample tree, while crown profile was obtained by reconstructing crowns from branch measurements. Our results showed that crown lengths did not differ between these two species given the same tree size and growth conditions. However, these two species establish under different growth conditions resulting in crown length differences. Further, differences in crown radii and profiles were found even under the same growth conditions. White spruce trees had wider crown radii and profiles changed from a parabola to a cone shape under increased density. As a result, differences in crown surface areas were found.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/x2012-106

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia, 2045-2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. 2: Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 27, 00014, Helsinki, Finland. 3: Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, 861 General Services, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada. 4: Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal QC H3C 3P8, Canada.

Publication date: September 22, 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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