Canadian Forest Service Publications
Crown allometry and application of the pipe model theory to white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) and aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) in the western boreal forest of Canada
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 40935
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White spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) and aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) from unmanaged stands in the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada, were examined for two of the main structural assumptions in the process-based model CROBAS: (i) a constant allometric relationship between foliage mass and crown length and (ii) a constant relationship between foliage mass and sapwood area. We evaluated these relationships at both at the whole-crown and within-crown levels. Results indicated that for both species, a constant allometric relationship between foliage mass and crown length was maintained at the whole-crown level over a period exceeding the peak mean annual increment of each species. Within the crowns of spruce, foliage mass accumulated faster near the tree apex as total crown length increased. For aspen, the increase in foliage mass per unit crown length for any section within the crown showed greater similarity to the relationship observed at the whole-crown level. The assumption of a constant relationship between foliage mass and sapwood area at the crown base generally held for spruce but showed considerable variation for any given diameter class. For aspen, this assumption did not appear to be appropriate. For both species, there was more foliage mass per unit sapwood area with increasing height from the ground for nearly all tree size classes. This latter finding was in conflict with the pipe model theory but could not be explained by the hydraulic theory of crown architecture, which predicts a decrease in the ratio of foliage mass to sapwood area with increasing path length.