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Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: A fifty-year legacy of forest research continues

Publication: The Forestry Chronicle16 August 2013https://doi.org/10.5558/tfc2013-085

Abstract

Reduction of the stem density of young, naturally regenerating stands through precommercial thinning (PCT) is widely accepted as beneficial for controlling tree species composition, selecting crop trees and improving their growth, and preparing stand structure for subsequent commercial thinning. Less understood and accepted are the forest-level benefits associated with wood fibre yield and value as they relate to the financial returns of PCT. The Green River PCT trials were established between 1959 and 1961 in naturally regenerating balsam fir (Abies balsamea [L.] Mill.)-dominated stands an average of eight years after overstory removal. Three nominal spacings of 4 ft (1.2 m), 6 ft (1.8 m) and 8 ft (2.4 m) were compared to an unthinned control in six replicate blocks. In the fall of 2008, following completion of the ninth sequential evaluation of the study’s 48 permanent sample plots, three of the six replicates were clearcut harvested and data were collected to quantify the effects of PCT on the forest value chain. This paper is the introduction to a series of six papers that quantify the rotation-length effects of PCT on: 1) stand dynamics and the yield of roundwood products; 2) harvesting and wood handling costs; 3) root and butt rot incidence, severity, and effects on volume recovery; 4) lumber and fibre-based panel recovery and value; 5) pulp and paper recovery and value; and 6) the overall integration of these costs and benefits.

Résumé

La réduction de la densité des tiges dans les jeunes peuplements issus de régénération naturelle au moyen de l’éclaircie précommerciale est généralement reconnue comme favorisant le contrôle de la composition en espèces d’arbres, la sélection des arbres destinés à la récolte et l’amélioration de leur croissance, ainsi que la mise en place de la structure du peuplement qui sera par la suite éclairci commercialement. Cependant on comprend mal et on saisit moins bien ce que sont les avantages au niveau de l’écosystème reliés au rendement et la valeur des fibres de bois lorsqu’il est question des bénéfices économiques de l’éclaircie précommerciale. Les essais d’éclaircie précommerciale de Green River ont été réalisés entre 1959 et 1961 dans des peuplements naturellement régénérés de sapin baumier (Abies balsamea [L.] Mill.) et dominés par cette espèce, huit années en moyenne après le retrait de l’étage dominant. Trois espacements nominaux de 4 pieds (1,2 m), 6 pieds (1,8 m) et 8 pieds (2,4 m) ont été comparés à un témoin non éclairci selon une répétition de six blocs. Au cours de l’automne 2008, suite à la réalisation de la neuvième évaluation séquentielle des 48 parcelles échantillons permanentes de l’étude, trois des six répétitions ont été coupées à blanc et les des données ont été recueillies afin de quantifier les effets de l’éclaircie précommerciale sur la chaine de valeur forestière. Cet article se veut être une introduction à une série de six textes qui quantifient les effets de l’éclaircie précommerciale tout au long de la révolution sur : 1) la dynamique des peuplements et le rendement en bois rond; 2) les coûts d’exploitation et de manutention du bois; 3) l’incidence, l’importance et les impacts sur le volume exploité du pourridié et de la carie du pied; 4) la production et la valeur du sciage et des panneaux à base de fibre; 5) la production et la valeur de la pâte et du papier et 6) l’intégration globale des coûts et des bénéfices.

References

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The Forestry Chronicle cover image
The Forestry Chronicle
Volume 89Number 04August 2013
Pages: 439 - 445

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Published online: 16 August 2013

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Key Words

  1. silviculture
  2. precommercial thinning
  3. balsam fir (Abies balsamea)
  4. value-chain optimization
  5. silviculture economics

Mots-clés

  1. sylviculture
  2. éclaircie précommerciale
  3. sapin baumier (Abies balsamea)
  4. optimisation de la chaine de valeur
  5. analyse économique des travaux sylvicoles

Authors

Affiliations

Doug G. Pitt
Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, 1219 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 2E5
Len Lanteigne
Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Hugh John Flemming Forestry Centre, P.O. Box 4000, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5P7
Michael K. Hoepting
Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, 1219 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 2E5
James Farrell
Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Hugh John Flemming Forestry Centre, P.O. Box 4000, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5P7

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Cited by
1. Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: Part 3 – Incidence of root and butt decay
2. Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: Part 6 – Estimating the economic benefits
3. Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: Part 5 – Kraft and Thermomechanical pulping and pulp quality
4. Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: Part 4 – Lumber production, quality and value
5. Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: Part 2 – Efficiency gains in cut-to-length harvesting
6. Effects of precommercial thinning on the forest value chain in northwestern New Brunswick: Part 1 – Roundwood production and stumpage value
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