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Crown Architecture, Wood Stiffness and the Pipe Model Theory for White Spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss] and Aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) Open Access


Other title
Modulus of Elasticity
Pipe model
White spruce
Wood quality
Crown allometry
Branch patterns
Trembling aspen
Foliage mass
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Sattler, Derek F
Supervisor and department
Comeau, Philip G (Renewable Resources)
Achim, Alexis (Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, Université Laval)
Examining committee member and department
Landhausser, Simon (Renewable Resources)
Weiskittel, Aaron (Forest Resources, University of Maine)
Hacke, Ewe (Renewable Resources)
Zwiazek, Janusz (Renewable Resources)
Department of Renewable Resources
Forest Biology & Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In forestry, the wood fibre supply chain describes the integration of harvesting operations, raw material transformation and end-product marketing. The forest industry may achieve an overall greater return on investment by developing a supply chain which incorporates measures of wood quality. The main goal of this thesis was to develop components of a decision support tool that may be used by forest managers to achieved wood quality based objectives for white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench)] and aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.). The first component presented in this thesis is a model for the prediction of pith to bark wood stiffness. For both spruce and aspen, wood stiffness was found to develop in closer association with cambial age than tree size. The results carry implications concerning the role of the stem and the adaptation to mechanical and hydraulic demands. Based on variables included in the models, silvicultural activities that alter slenderness and radial growth rate in spruce are likely to have the greatest impact on wood stiffness. Conversely, there appears to be little opportunity for silvicultural activities to influence wood stiffness in aspen. The second component presented in this thesis is a set of models for the prediction of the number of branches, branch diameter and branch angle per unit crown length for spruce. Relative or absolute depth into the crown were significant variables in all the models, reflecting the influence of varying light transmittance on crown architecture. While tree-level variables such as crown length and tree slenderness featured in all the branch models, no indices of stand-level species composition or competition were found to directly influence the branch characteristics, other than tree social position. Overall, the models suggest that crown architecture is predominantly influenced by local “neighbourhood” conditions. An additional set of branch models were developed to identify the tree-level characteristics which influence the recovery of first grade select lumber from harvested trees. The practical application of these models may be achieved by integrating them into Crobas, a process-based tree growth simulator which uses principles related to functional balance and the pipe model theory. Tests concerning key assumptions of Crobas indicated that (i) there is indeed a constant allometric relationship between foliage mass and crown length for both spruce and aspen, and (ii) the constant ratio of foliage mass to sapwood area at crown base held reasonably well for spruce. The results, however, were less encouraging for aspen. Further efforts to validate Crobas are, therefore, recommended for white spruce. For aspen, modifications to the pipe model relationship should be sought before further validation exercises are performed. Since all components of this study examined data from unmanaged stands, the results provide a baseline reference point upon which to compare measurements from managed stands.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Sattler, D.F., Comeau, P. G., and Achim, A. 2014. Within-tree patterns of wood stiffness for white spruce (Picea glauca) and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides). Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44: 162–171., D.F., Comeau, P. G., and Achim, A. 2014. Branch models for white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) in naturally regenerated stands. Forest Ecology and Management 325: 74–89. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.03.051Sattler, D.F., and Comeau, P.G. (In press). Crown allometry and application of the Pipe Model Theory to white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) and aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.). Canadian Journal of Forest Research.Power, H., LeMay, V., Berninger, F., Sattler, D. and Kneeshaw, D. 2012. Differences in crown characteristics between black (Picea mariana) and white spruce (Picea glauca). Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42: 1733-1743. 10.1139/x2012-106

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