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Water Stress Response After Thinning Pinus contorts Stands in Montana

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Seasonal development of leaf water stress in thinned stands of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm.) was compared to adjacent controls at three sites in Montana. Each stand was thinned to varying densities in the fall of 1982 or spring of 1983. Pre-dawn leaf water potential measurements were taken monthly in the summers of 1983 and 1984 using the pressure chamber to determine plant water stress differences between thinned and unthinned stands. Late summer leaf water potential was significantly higher (0.17 to 0.35 MPa) in the thinned stands than in the controls. Computer simulation using the DAYTRANS/PSN ecosystem model suggested that 21 percent greater seasonal photosynthesis could occur in these trees as a result of the approximately 0.3 MPa higher plant water potential measured and additional radiation available to remaining trees. Based on estimated carbon budgets, this additional photosynthate could substantially increase the amount of carbon allocated to stem growth in these trees. Forest Sci. 32:614-625.

Keywords: Computer simulation; carbon allocation; lodgepole pine; photosynthesis

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812

Publication date: September 1, 1986

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