Assessment of White Spruce and Jack Pine Stem Curvature from a Nelder Spacing Experiment


  • D. Belley
  • M. Beaudoin
  • I. Duchesne
  • S. Vallerand
  • Q. J. Tong
  • D. E. Swift


Curvature assessment methods, stem quality, Optitek, stem shape, jack pine, white spruce, Nelder plantation


This study presents a method for calculating stem curvature for trees with multiple deviations. Generally, tree curvature is assessed using the maximum deflection method. It consists of measuring the farthest point from a straight line drawn between the large and small ends of a stem. It works fairly well for a single deviation but gives poorer results for stems with several deviations. The stems used for developing this method were harvested from a 32-yr-old Nelder spacing experiment established near Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada. A total of 96 trees were selected for this study from the white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) that were planted on the same Nelder circle. This particular plantation design offered a gradient of initial spacings ranging from 640 to 12,000 stems/ha. Results of analysis revealed that initial spacing had an impact on tree curvature. Stem curvature increased with wider initial spacing. However, this influence varied between species and differed according to the method used to calculate curvature. The vector length calculation method showed that stem curvature in jack pine was more pronounced and more often encountered at lower densities than in white spruce. It was also observed that tree shape was influenced by the cardinal points with white spruce growing more in westerly and southerly directions.


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