Influence of age on growth efficiency of Tsuga canadensis and Picea rubens trees in mixed-species, multiaged northern conifer stands
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Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32: 2032-2042.
Well-known patterns in the fundamental relationship between tree-level stemwood volume increment (VINC) and projected leaf area (PLA) are examined and quantified for Tsuga Canadensis (L.) Carriere (eastern hemlock) and Picea rubens Sarg. (red spruce) growing in managed, mixed-species, multiaged stands in east-central Maine, U.S.A. Both species follow a sigmoid pattern, suggesting a peak growth efficiency (GE, stemwood volume growth per unit of PLA) in mid- to upper-canopy trees with PLAs of less than half that of the largest trees sampled. Tree age negatively influenced the VINC-PLA relationship in the expected manner: at a given PLA, older trees produce less stemwood than younger ones. The combined effect of leaf area and age is accurately modeled with a Weibull-like function in which the asymptote is an index of tree maturity defined as tree age relative to an estimated maximum for the species. Although previous studies have independently documented both the sigmoid relationship between VINC and PLA and the negative effect of age, their conclusions have been confounded by the strong correlation between age and mean tree PLA. This study addresses both issues simultaneously, and is the first to demonstrate a decline in GE with age independent from the effect of increasing PLA.
Seymour, Robert S.; Kenefic, Laura S. 2002. Influence of age on growth efficiency of Tsuga canadensis and Picea rubens trees in mixed-species, multiaged northern conifer stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32: 2032-2042.