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Survival and growth of yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) in southern New England



Survival and growth of yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) in southern New England



Canadian Journal of Forest Research 27(2): 156-165



Crown class and diameter of 1862 yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton) >1.5 cm have been monitored at 10-year intervals since 1927. Nominal stand age was 25 years in 1927. Survival and growth of yellow birch in 25- to 85-year-old stands were influenced by antecedent crown class and disturbance. Mortality was negatively correlated with antecedent diameter growth and to a lesser extent crown class. Mortality of suppressed trees was 2x to 4x higher than for trees in the upper canopy. Mortality of trees growing <1 cm DBR per decade was 8X higher than for trees growing greater than or equal to 2 cm DBH per decade. Mortality and diameter growth were independent of tree diameter when antecedent diameter growth and crown class effects were removed. The decline of yellow birch diameter growth between stand ages 35 and 55 years was linked to vertical stratification. Diameter growth increased following a period of defoliation and drought between stand ages 55 and 65 years, presumably because of increased oak mortality during this period. Simultaneously, persistence in the upper canopy increased and crown class regression decreased. After a 10-year lag, crown class ascension of intermediate trees increased. Yellow birch ingrowth and ascension of suppressed trees into the intermediate crown class peaked after a 20-year lag. Cutting practices that mimic defoliation-initiated mortality should increase yellow birch density in southern New England.

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Accession: 002973025

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1139/x96-162


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