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Stem Form Development of Forest Trees

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The biological concept of stem form, or stem taper, is discussed on the basis of a comprehensive review of the literature. It can be shown that tree growth and stem form development follow certain general laws or patterns of growth that are inherited. However, these basic patterns may be modified by many environmental factors and by silvicultural practices. Most variations in stem form may be traced to changes in the size and distribution of the live crown on the stem and to the length of the branch-free bole. These changes in crown development and stem form also influence the earlywood to latewood distribution and the wood density gradients within the stem. Four general stem form theories--nutritional, water conduction, mechanistic, and hormonal--have been proposed to account for stem form development. The arguments for and against these different theories are discussed.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Plant Physiologist at the Lake States Forest Experiment Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is the head of a Pioneer Research Unit at Rhinelander, Wisconsin, set up to study the physiology of wood formation

Publication date: 1963-12-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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