Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: a fifty-year legacy of forest research continues. 2013. Pitt, D.G.; Lanteigne, L.; Hoepting, M.K.; Farrell, J. The Forestry Chronicle 89(4):439-445.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35331

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.5558/tfc2013-085

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Abstract

Reduction of the stem density of young, naturally regenerating stands through precommercial thinning (PCT) is widely accepted as beneficial for controlling tree species composition, selecting crop trees and improving their growth, and preparing stand structure for subsequent commercial thinning. Less understood and accepted are the forest-level benefits associated with wood fibre yield and value as they relate to the financial returns of PCT. The Green River PCT trials were established between 1959 and 1961 in naturally regenerating balsam fir (Abies balsamea [L.] Mill.)-dominated stands an average of eight years after overstory removal. Three nominal spacings of 4 ft (1.2 m), 6 ft (1.8 m) and 8 ft (2.4 m) were compared to an unthinned control in six replicate blocks. In the fall of 2008, following completion of the ninth sequential evaluation of the study’s 48 permanent sample plots, three of the six replicates were clearcut harvested and data were collected to quantify the effects of PCT on the forest value chain. This paper is the introduction to a series of six papers that quantify the rotation-length effects of PCT on: 1) stand dynamics and the yield of roundwood products; 2) harvesting and wood handling costs; 3) root and butt rot incidence, severity, and effects on volume recovery; 4) lumber and fibre-based panel recovery and value; 5) pulp and paper recovery and value; and 6) the overall integration of these costs and benefits.

Plain Language Summary

Precommercial thinning (PCT) in naturally regenerating stands is widely accepted as beneficial. It is used to control species composition, improve the growth of crop trees, and prepare the stand structure for subsequent commercial thinning. This paper is the introduction to a series of six papers that evaluate the effects of PCT on the forest value chain. These include stand dynamics and yield of roundwood products; harvesting and wood handling costs; effects of root and butt rot; lumber and panel recovery and value; pulp and paper recovery and value; and the overall integration of these costs and benefits. The study is based on PCT trials of naturally regenerating balsam fir stands (thinned to 4 ft., 6 ft. and 8 ft. spacing) in northwestern New Brunswick that were established between 1959 and 1961. In 2008, half of the plots were clearcut harvested and data were collected to quantify the financial returns of PCT.