Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: Part 4 – Lumber production, quality and value. 2013. Duchesne, I.; Pitt, D.G.; Tanguay, F. For. Chron. 89:474-489.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35346

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Forty-eight years application, three nominal precommercial thinning (PCT) 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, balsam fir (Abies balsamea [L.] Mill.)-dominated stands. Within three of these replicates chosen for clearcut harvest in 2008, a total of 150 trees were bucked into 479 sawlogs that produced 10 829 board feet of lumber. PCT had a positive impact on Premium lumber grade recovery per tree, increasing it from an average of 9 foot board measure (fbm) in the unthinned control plots, to 22 fbm in plots nominally spaced to 8 ft (p = 0.02). No. 2 & Better grade yields increased from 42 to 76 fbm/tree in these same sets of plots (p < 0.01). PCT to 6 ft and 8 ft increased the production of 2×4 and 2×6 lumber over the control (p ≤ 0.04). Stand-level gross total product value increased between 11% and 23% in thinned stands (estimated at +$3000 to +$6600 per ha, p < 0.01). PCT had no appreciable effect on sawn lumber wood density (p ≥ 0.26) or lumber stiffness (MOE; ≤-6.2 %, p ≥ 0.11), but had a negative effect on lumber strength (MOR; ≤ -13.4 %, p ≤ 0.03) and wood basic density at stump height (≤- 7%; p < 0.01). MDF panel properties were generally good, regardless of spacing. We recommend thinning young balsam fir stands to a maximum nominal spacing of 6 ft (1.2 m) to maintain satisfactory lumber mechanical properties and maximize product value per hectare.