Primary and Secondary Branch Growth in Black Spruce and Balsam Fir after Careful Logging around Small Merchantable Stems (CLASS)

Forests. 2019;10(6):500 DOI 10.3390/f10060500

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Forests

ISSN: 1999-4907 (Print)

Publisher: MDPI AG

LCC Subject Category: Science: Botany: Plant ecology

Country of publisher: Switzerland

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS

Audrey Lemay (Département des sciences fondamentales, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, 555 boulevard de l’Université, Chicoutimi, QC G7H 2B1, Canada)
Cornelia Krause (Département des sciences fondamentales, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, 555 boulevard de l’Université, Chicoutimi, QC G7H 2B1, Canada)
Alexis Achim (Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, Université Laval, 2405 rue de la Terrasse, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 11 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Careful logging around small merchantable stems (CLASS) is a partial cutting treatment that consists of the harvest of 70%−90% of the merchantable volume of an irregular coniferous stand. In this treatment, regeneration, saplings and small merchantable stems (DBH < 15 cm) are preserved and can continue to grow and develop into the dominant layer of the new stand. The aim of this project was to examine the effects of CLASS on the primary and secondary growth of branches, as well as on branch diameter in black spruce and balsam fir trees in the boreal forest of Quebec, Canada. Primary and secondary growth were measured on five branches per tree while branch diameter was analysed from 15 whorls distributed within the crown of the 48 black spruce and 48 balsam fir trees sampled. Branch primary and secondary growth significantly increased after CLASS in the lower part of the crown in both species, and both types of growth increased proportionally. These findings suggest that CLASS may delay crown recession as the lower branches tend to survive and grow for a longer period. However, although radial growth increased in the years post-CLASS, this did not significantly influence the final branch diameter and should not lead to lumber downgrade.