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A simple system for classifying sugar maple vigour and quality

Cecil-Cockwell, Malcolm J.L., Caspersen, John P.
Canadian journal of forest research = 2015 v.45 no.7 pp. 900-909
Acer saccharum subsp. saccharum, hardwood forests, logging, risk, sawlogs, trees, vigor
In northern hardwood forests, treemarkers are responsible for selecting the trees to be harvested during commercial logging operations. They often select trees based on the presence and severity of defects, information that is used to assign trees to two or more vigour classes (reflecting the risk of dying or declining in growth) and two or more quality classes (reflecting the potential for recovering valuable sawlogs). Using these classes can simplify the tree selection process, but some classification systems may include superfluous classes beyond what is required to explain the variation in tree value. In this paper, we present a parsimonious classification system for sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) trees using formal classification analyses of empirical product recovery data. We also calculated the net value of trees in each class and assessed which defects affect tree value. Our results show that relatively few defects affect tree value, indicating that treemarkers should use a simpler classification system to describe the vigour and quality of trees. Specifically, we found that the best system contains just three classes: high vigour-high quality, low vigour-high quality, and low vigour-low quality. The use of this simple, easily implemented system would improve the ability of treemarkers to recognize the value of sugar maple trees when selecting the trees to be harvested during commercial logging operations.