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Effects of initial planting density on tree and stand development of planted black spruce up to age 30

Publication: The Forestry Chronicle
9 June 2016


The effect of initial planting density on tree and stand development was investigated for a 30 year old black spruce plantation in northeastern Ontario. The data came from upland and transitional peatland sites where black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) was planted at inter-tree spacings ranging between 1.25 and 4.00 m. A modified Chapman-Richards function was fit to observations of top height, total volume, basal area, quadratic mean diameter and cumulative stem mortality in relation to initial planting density, stand age and site quality. With the exception of mortality, the fitted models accounted for most of the variation in the response variables. Total volume and basal area increased strongly with initial planting density, whereas quadratic mean diameter decreased. The results quantify the tradeoff between stand volume and individual tree size to age 30, which will help forest managers make better decisions about initial planting density for black spruce plantations on similar sites.


Cette étude s'est intéressée à l'effet de la densité initiale de plantation sur la croissance des arbres et du peuplement dans le cas de plantations d’épinette noire de 30 ans située dans le nord-est de l'Ontario. Les données viennent de plantations d’épinette noire (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) où les semis étaient plantés à un intervalle de 1,25 à 4,00 m sur des terres hautes et dans les zones de transition de tourbières. Le modèle modifié de croissance de Chapman-Richards a été adapté pour traiter les données de hauteur maximale, de volume total, de surface terrière, de diamètre moyen quadratique et de mortalité cumulative des tiges en fonction de la densité initiale de plantation, de l’âge du peuplement et de la qualité de la station. À l'exception de la mortalité, les modèles modifiés reflétaient bien la majeure partie de la variation des variables mesurées. Le volume total et la surface terrière ont augmenté fortement avec la densité initiale de plantation, tandis que le diamètre moyen quadratique a diminué. Les résultats permettent de quantifier les compromis à faire entre le volume du peuplement et la taille individuelle des arbres âgés de 30 ans, ce qui devrait aider les aménagistes forestiers à prendre les meilleures décisions quant à la densité initiale de plantation pour l’épinette noire sur des stations semblables.

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Published In

cover image The Forestry Chronicle
The Forestry Chronicle
Volume 92Number 02April 2016
Pages: 200 - 210


Version of record online: 9 June 2016

Key Words

  1. black spruce
  2. initial planting density
  3. tree and stand development
  4. top height
  5. stand volume
  6. stand basal area
  7. mortality
  8. site quality


  1. épinette noire
  2. densité initiale de plantation
  3. développement des arbres et du peuplement
  4. hauteur maximale
  5. volume du peuplement
  6. surface terrière du peuplement
  7. mortalité
  8. qualité de station



Arthur Groot [email protected]
Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 1219 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie, ON, P6A 2E5
Francesco Cortini
Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 506 West Burnside Rd., Victoria, British Columbia V8Z 1M5

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