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Black spruce trees from fire-origin stands have higher wood mechanical properties than those from older, irregular stands1

Torquato, Luciane Paes, Auty, David, Hernández, Roger E., Duchesne, Isabelle, Pothier, David, Achim, Alexis
Canadian journal of forest research = 2013 v.44 no.2 pp. 118-127
Picea mariana, boreal forests, cambium, compression wood, models, modulus of elasticity, modulus of rupture, stand structure, trees, wood mechanical properties, Quebec
In the eastern Canadian boreal forest, long fire return intervals lead to over 60% of stands having an irregular, uneven-aged structure, which is associated with slower growth. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of stand structure on the clear wood mechanical properties of black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.). A total of 128 trees were destructively sampled from stands of regular and irregular structure across Quebec, Canada. Nonlinear mixed-effects models were developed for each stand type to describe the variation in modulus of elasticity (MOE) and modulus of rupture (MOR) in small defect-free samples as functions of cambial age and annual ring width. Mechanical properties were strongly related to cambial age, with a smaller influence of ring width. After accounting for these variables, both MOE and MOR were higher in samples from stands of regular structure, although differences were less pronounced in the upper stem compared with breast height. The fixed effects of the models explained between 34% and 53% of the variation in mechanical properties. A higher incidence of mild compression wood in trees of layer origin may explain the observed differences between stand structures.