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Eccentricity and Fluting in Young–Growth Western Hemlock in Oregon

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Stem irregularities can influence estimates of tree and stand attributes, efficiency of manufacturing processes, and quality of wood products. Eccentricity and fluting were characterized in young, managed western hemlock stands in the Oregon Coast Range. Sixty-one trees were selected from pure western hemlock stands across a range of age, site, and densities. The trees were felled and disks were removed from breast height, base of live crown, and various percentage-of-height locations along the bole. Indices of out-of roundness (OOR), pith-off-center (POC), and fluting severity (fluting index) were computed, flutes were counted, and depth of deepest flute was measured on each disk. These variables were related to relative tree height, tree diameter, and several stand- and tree-level attributes. The lower portions of stems tended to be more out-of-round and have a higher degree of off-centered piths than upper stem heights. Basal and breast-height disks had a higher number of flutes, deeper flutes, and higher fluting severity compared to disks from upper stem positions. Tree size (diameter at 4.5 ft) was only weakly correlated with OOR and uncorrelated with POC, but strongly correlated with more flutes, deeper flutes, and higher fluting severity. OOR and POC were not significantly correlated with any other tree or stand attributes. The fluting variables were positively correlated with stand age and overall tree growth rate and negatively correlated with trees/ac. Thus, silvicultural practices that result in more rapid growth, wider spacing, and longer rotations are likely to result in more extensive fluting but will have little or no effect on stem eccentricity. West. J. Appl. For.18(4):221–228.

Keywords: Tsuga heterophylla; environmental management; fluting; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; stem eccentricity; stem irregularities

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Pacific Northwest Research Station, 3625-93rd Avenue SW, Olympia, WA, 98512, 2: Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331,

Publication date: 2003-10-01

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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