The impact of early precommercial thinning of dense jack pine ( Pinus banksiana Lamb.) stands on the mortality of thinned stems

Splawinski, T.B.; Gauthier, S.; Bergeron, Y.; Greene, D.F.

The Forestry Chronicle 90(3): 371-377

2014


DOI: 10.5558/tfc2014-071
Accession: 068507601

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Abstract
Precommercial thinning of jack pine (Pinus banksiana) stands is a common silvicultural method to control stand density and growth in managed boreal forest stands. If employed too early, vigorous conifer re-growth can reduce the radial growth and potential yield of residual trees, thus requiring additional costly thinning treatments and extended rotation period. We examine thinned jack pine re-growth proportion as a function of remaining branch whorls on the stump of cut stems, and of thinning height following fire and salvage. Four salvaged and precommercially thinned stands in two forest fires that occurred in 1995 in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region of Quebec were sampled. Significant relationships were identified between the number of branch whorls remaining on individual stems following precommercial thinning and the mortality proportion, and between the number of branch whorls remaining on individual stems following precommercial thinning and mean stump height. We suggest that precommercial thinning in dense jack pine stands be applied between 7 and 10 years following establishment at between 10 cm and 13 cm stump height. In addition, we identify various indicators that foresters can use on-site to better plan thinning operations.