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Five-Year Thinning Response of an Overgrown Douglas-Fir Christmas Tree Plantation

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A 15-year-old Douglas-fir Christmas tree plantation in western Oregon was thinned in 1996 according to regional sawtimber conversion guidelines. The plantation comprised two strata, distinguished by initial planting density (Area 1 = 5 × 5 ft and Area 2 = 10 × 10 ft). Unthinned control plots were established in both Area 1 and Area 2 at the time of the thinning treatment. Five years later, the quadratic mean diameter (QMD) in Area 1 (thinned) was 6.4 in. versus 5.2 in. in Area 1 (unthinned), while in Area 2 (thinned) the QMD was 11.4 in. compared to 9.3 in. in Area 2 (unthinned). Over the same period, the volume/ac in Area 1 (thinned) (1,080 ft3/ac) was nearly twice that of Area 1 (unthinned) (576 ft3/ac). In contrast, the volume/ac in Area 2 (thinned) (2,318 ft3/acre) was almost half that of Area 2 (unthinned) (4,264 ft3/ac). These results suggest that while thinning was timely for Area 1, the thinning treatment could have been delayed for Area 2. By plantation age 30, the treated units in Area 1 and Area 2 have estimated yields of 9.6 and 11.6 thousand bd ft (mbf), respectively, with no additional thinning. Given 2002 average prices for #3 sawmill grade logs, gross return at age 30 would range between $5,000 and $6,000/ac. West. J. Appl. For. 19(3):171–174.

Keywords: Quadratic mean diameter; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; log grades; natural resource management; natural resources; volume per acre; western Oregon

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Pacific Northwest Research Station USDA Forest Service P.O. Box 3890 Portland OR 97208 Phone: (503) 808-2084;, Fax: (503) 808-2033, Email: 2: Stevens Family Resources LLC 5041 S.W. Illinois Portland OR 97221

Publication date: 2004-07-01

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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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