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Growth and Survival of Picea glauca following Thinning of Plantations Affected by Eastern Spruce Budworm

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The effects of thinning treatments on growth and survivorship of white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss) plantations affected by recent eastern spruce budworm (SBW) outbreaks were examined over a 5-year period in northern Minnesota. Thinning treatments increased individual tree growth, live crown ratios (LCRs), and survival relative to unthinned stands. Overall, stands affected by SBW had lower rates of volume production than unaffected stands. In addition, individual tree volume growth was greater in thinned SBW-affected stands relative to unthinned SBW-affected stands. Across stand conditions, individual tree postthinning volume growth response was best predicted by the interaction of prethinning LCR and postthinning relative density (RD). In particular, at low stocking levels (RD = 0.20) higher live crown values resulted in the highest volume growth ratios. On the other hand, at higher stocking levels (RD 0.40‐0.55) volume growth was fairly consistent, regardless of LCRs. Across all stocking levels, a minimum LCR of 40% appears to ensure high tree and stand growth rates and is also an indicator of a tree's ability to respond positively to thinning. This plasticity of white spruce suggests that stands maintained at these crown target levels can achieve high levels of stand and individual tree productivity as long as appropriate LCRs are maintained.

Keywords: eastern spruce budworm; live crown ratio; mortality; relative density; thinning; white spruce

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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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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