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Wet Heartwood Distribution in the Stem, Stump, and Root Wood of Black Spruce in the Quebec Boreal Forest, Canada

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Wet heartwood has been studied since the beginning of the 20th century. The present work focused on wet heartwood of 44 black spruces (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) from boreal forest swampy sites Quebec, Canada. Trees were studied to characterize their tree crown shape, quickly identify them in the field, measure their moisture content, establish their moisture content distribution pattern, evaluate the wet heartwood volume inside their stem, and find the possibility of water entrance in this species. Black spruces with wet heartwood were characterized by a typical tree shape with a small number of living branches, short branches, and a clump of green needles at the top of the tree. The wet heartwood was characterized by high moisture content at the stem base and decreased with stem height. Wet heartwood was observed as high as 5 m above stem base for trees around 10.5 m in height. Moisture content of sapwood along the stem varied from 81 to 161%, whereas in dry heartwood, it was around 43% but reached more than 100% in the wet heartwood. Wet heartwood volume in the first 3.25 m of black spruce stems averaged 13% with variations between 2 and 35% per study site. Twelve stumps had wet heartwood moisture contents reaching 143% or higher. Moisture content of wet heartwood in root sections closest to the stump varied along a gradient: lower or absent at ground level and increasing with depth up to a maximum value before decreasing again.
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Keywords: Black spruce; moisture content; root; sapwood and dry heartwood; stem; stump; wet heartwood

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Département des Sciences Fondamentales Université du Québec à Chicoutimi Chicoutimi QC Canada G7H 2B1

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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