Sixty-year effects of deciduous removal on white spruce height growth and site index in the Western Boreal

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Abstract:

In the boreal plains of western Canada, white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) height−age and site index (SI) curves have been developed and applied to assess site productivity for white spruce without fully considering the competition that usually occurs between the spruce and taller deciduous trees. In this study, we evaluated the effects of deciduous removal on white spruce height growth potential using stem analysis on typical control spruce grown with deciduous neighbours and spruce that were released from deciduous competition ∼60 years prior. Due to the late application of the release treatments (at stand ages of 20–60 years), the observed site index of spruce was not affected by treatment. However, height growth in the 50 years following treatment was increased by 2.1 m. We present a height−age model to specifically estimate the change in SI required to achieve the observed height response following late release. The model indicated that the post-release SI estimate of white spruce would need to be on average 4.2 m higher than control SI to track the height response. This model is useful for estimating the true, competition-free SI for white spruce from the observed SI in natural mixed stands.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2012-0169

Affiliations: 1: Department of Renewable Resources, 751 GSB, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada. 2: Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, 8th floor, Great West Life Building, 9920-108 Street, Edmonton, AB T5K 2M4, Canada. 3: Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, 5320-122 Street, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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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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