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Predicting sugar maple (Acer saccharum) discoloured wood characteristics

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Abstract:

The presence of wound (strain) initiated discoloured wood columns in the core of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall) stems reduces the proportion of white-coloured wood and, thus, lowers its commercial value. This study aimed to assess the relationship between tree characteristics and the extent and proportion of discoloured wood in sugar maple tree stems. Using 109 trees from three different sites in southern Quebec, we found that the proportion of discoloured wood increased with decreasing sapwood volume and increasing tree age. Younger trees showed a significantly lower proportion of discoloured wood volume. Discoloured wood volume increases disproportionately with tree diameter, while varying among sites. The third important factor affecting the amount of discolored wood was tree vigour as measured by crown characteristics and growth rate changes. A nonlinear mixed-effects model was used to predict discoloured wood taper. Height along the stem was used as a predictor, along with diameter at 1.3 m (DBH), the ratio of live crown length to tree height, and tree height. Although observed injury surface area was positively correlated to discoloured wood volume, injury information did not explain a large share of discoloured wood proportion variation. Overall, older and larger trees with many injuries on less productive sites are likely to have more discoloured wood.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2013-0017

Affiliations: Centre d’étude de la forêt (CEF), Montreal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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