Canadian Forest Service Publications

Age structure and growth of understory white spruce under aspen. 1996. Lieffers, V.J.; Stadt, K.J.; Navratil, S. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 26(6): 1002-1007.

Year: 1996

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28055

Language: English

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Juvenile white spruce (Piceaglauca (Moench) Voss) under an aspen (Populustremuloides Michx.) overstory were studied in nine boreal mixedwood stands in west-central Alberta. In each stand, 50 understory white spruce were cut for stem analysis at ground level, 30, 70, 130 cm, and every 100 cm to tree height. In four stands, recruitment of these understory spruce occurred immediately after the disturbance, while in others the recruitment was delayed several decades. The period of recruitment was as short as 15–20 years or continued for decades, producing an uneven-aged understory. Trees initiated on rotten logs had a slightly lower initial annual diameter increment but did not differ in height growth compared with those initiated on normal forest floor. The annual height increment increased as the trees grew in height, presumably as they overtopped successive layers of shading vegetation. When seedlings were less than 30 cm tall they grew less than 10 cm per year, but attained growth rates of 30 cm per year or more when they were taller than 230 cm. Height growth rates for these understory trees were comparable to reported growth rates of white spruce of similar size and age from clearcut areas.