Impact of Commercial Thinning on Annual Radial Growth and Wood Density in Plantation-Grown Black Spruce


  • Queju Tong
  • Francis Tanguay
  • S. Y. Zhang


Commercial thinning, black spruce, plantation, annual growth, wood density


This study examined ring width and density of plantation-grown black spruce 6 yr after commercial thinning (CT). Sample trees were from a 49-yr-old plantation receiving CT at age 43 yr near Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. There was a significant and positive effect on annual radial growth for heavy thinning (one of three rows removed) but not for light thinning (one of four rows removed). CT had little effect on wood density. Increased radial growth caused by thinning was mainly from an increase in earlywood width. Latewood proportion was not affected by thinning. With increasing tree diameter from 100-220 mm, ring width increased 0.93-2.19 mm, whereas ring density decreased slightly 523-487 kg/m3. Ring width decreased from 1.31 mm at stump height to 1.13 mm at 2.5-m height and then increased to 1.62 mm at 7.5-m height. From stump height to 7.5 m, ring density decreased steadily from 525-491 kg/m3. The effect of thinning depended on tree diameter and height position. This study suggests CT in black spruce accelerated radial growth but had little effect on wood density. Appropriate thinning intensity may target radial growth increase to trees of certain diameters.


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