Effects of early thinning regime and tree status on the radial growth and wood density of Scots pine
Peltola H., Kilpeläinen A., Sauvala K., Räisänen T., Ikonen V.-P. (2007). Effects of early thinning regime and tree status on the radial growth and wood density of Scots pine. Silva Fennica vol. 41 no. 3 article id 285. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.285
In this work, we studied the effects of early thinning on the radial growth and wood density over a 12-year post-thinning period in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trees grown on a site with a rather poor nutrient supply. Ring width, early and late wood width and early wood percentage, mean intra-ring wood density and early- and late wood density were analyzed in 98 sample trees using X-ray microdensitometry. For the analyses, ten different thinning plots with post-thinning stand density varying from 575 to 3400 stems ha–1 were grouped into four classes representing heavy thinning, moderate thinning, light thinning and no thinning. We found that the radial growth in the thinned treatments increased significantly compared to that of the unthinned treatment. Despite this, the mean intra-ring wood density did not decrease significantly as a result of heavy thinning, although it was 2% less, on average (with a range of 1–4% in large and small trees), compared to that of the unthinned treatment. In the lightly thinned treatment, the mean intra-ring wood density even increased by 5%, on average (with a range 4–7% in small and large trees), but in the moderately thinned treatment, the level of change was not as clear. The thinning response of trees representing different status in a stand differed significantly and was also affected by the post-thinning stand density. Altogether, observed simultaneous increases in early and late wood widths and late wood density, but a decrease in early wood density indicate that as a result of heavy thinning, especially, un-uniformity of wood density will increase. On the other hand, although heavy thinning increased tree growth by 9–20%, on average, compared to moderate thinning, which corresponds quite well with business-as-usual management, mean wood density decreased only 0–4% depending on tree status in a stand (from large to small trees). Thus, the decrease observed in wood density was less than expected as a result of heavy thinning at an early stage of stand development, which has recently been recommended as one possible management option in Scots pine in Finland.
Received 6 November 2006 Accepted 11 July 2007 Published 31 December 2007