Canadian Forest Service Publications

The effect of the interaction of tree slenderness and relative height with ring width on wood density in Abies balsamea and Picea glauca. 2017. Cortini, F.; Groot, A. Wood Science Technology 51:175-194.

Year: 2017

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36851

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s00226-016-0843-z

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Wood density affects the strength of lumber and paper products. Despite considerable research, however, the key factors influencing wood density are still not fully understood. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of variables within and among trees on the density of current wood growth along the stem in order to further understanding and prediction of wood quality. Correlation analyses together with linear mixed effects and randomForest modelling were carried out using stem analysis and tree-level data from long-term balsam fir and white spruce stand density experiments in Eastern Canada. Wood density showed highly structured patterns of variation among trees. Mixed effects and randomForest models, which incorporated tree-level effects accounted for much of the wood density variation. The three most influential variables identified by random Forest analysis for both species were tree slenderness, relative height and ring width. Wood density increased with slenderness and relative height, and these variables affected relationships of wood density to ring width. Wood density is associated with interacting variables within and among trees including tree slenderness and relative height. Wood density is related to ring width, but this relationship is modulated by tree-level influences which likely reflect mechanical stability requirements.

Plain Language Summary

The objectives of this study were to document wood quality developmental patterns up to the point of potential commercial thinning within 30-40 year old-black spruce plantations located in northern Ontario. Based on the detailed analysis of 47 trees sampled from 5 plantations, the results suggested that the patterns of development differed among the trees in a systematic pattern according to the density of the stands they were growing in and their crown class. At approximately 40 years post-establishment, the attributes within the plantations were not substantially different from those reported for natural-origin stands at later stages of development. This research presents the first detailed analysis of fibre attribute variation during the initial stages of plantation development for this species and location and offers guidance to the forest practitioners in determining potential and end-uses of supplemental fibre which could be obtained from commercial thinning.