Canadian Forest Service Publications

Above-ground biomass predicts growth limitation in amabilis fir and western hemlock seedlings. 2003. Mitchell, A.K.; Dunsworth, B.G.; Bown, T.A.; Moran, J.A. The Forestry Chronicle 79(2): 285-290.

Year: 2003

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33438

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Mark record


Conifer regeneration on clearcut montane sites is frequently affected by post-planting growth stagnation. The ability to predict such stagnation would be a valuable asset to forest managers. In this study, we tested the usefulness of above-ground biomass and photosynthetic efficiency (as estimated by foliar nitrogen concentration) in diagnosing growth limitations in western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and amabilis fir (Abies amabilis). Seedlings were grown under different silvicultural systems (clearcut, patch cut, green tree retention and shelterwood) and post-planting treatments (fertilization, vegetation removal) at the Montane Alternative Silvicultural Systems (MASS) site on Vancouver Island, BC. Foliar nitrogen was found to be a poor predictor of height and stem volume growth. However, above-ground biomass predicted current height and stem volume (year 3 after planting), as well as future stem volume (year 7 after planting), in both species. Above-ground biomass therefore represents a useful measure of likely future growth performance, and may provide early warning of incipient growth stagnation in these species.