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Assessing the Potential Stem Growth and Quality of Yellow Birch Prior to Restoration: A Case Study in Eastern Canada
Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2013; in revised form: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 22 September 2013 / Published: 30 September 2013
Abstract: Past silvicultural treatments have resulted in the high-grading mixed temperate forests of Québec, Canada. Despite recognition of this issue, the low occurrence of yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton) within current stands raises questions about the potential of the species to grow and eventually constitute a high-quality forest resource. The objective of this study was to assess this potential using tree characteristics, forest structure and additional site and climatic conditions as predictors. A total of 145 trees were sampled in two areas located in the same bioclimatic zone. Lower-Saguenay-Charlevoix was chosen as an area where a restoration plan could be implemented, whereas Portneuf was selected as a reference. We used nonlinear mixed models to investigate which environmental factors are likely to influence the radial growth and stem quality of yellow birch sample trees. Our results suggest that topographic and climatic conditions, as well as the competitive environment of the trees, are important factors to consider in the evaluation of yellow birch production. Despite the limited occurrence of yellow birch, the potential for growth and quality was high in the Lower-Saguenay-Charlevoix area. For equivalent topographic, climatic, and competitive environment conditions, there was no significant difference in either radial growth or stem quality with Portneuf. We suggest that the economic interest of producing high quality timber should be used to justify the implementation of a restoration strategy in the Lower-Saguenay-Charlevoix area.
Keywords: yellow birch; forest restoration; stem quality; site and climatic conditions
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Gagné, L.-V.; Genet, A.; Weiskittel, A.; Achim, A. Assessing the Potential Stem Growth and Quality of Yellow Birch Prior to Restoration: A Case Study in Eastern Canada. Forests 2013, 4, 766-785.
Gagné L-V, Genet A, Weiskittel A, Achim A. Assessing the Potential Stem Growth and Quality of Yellow Birch Prior to Restoration: A Case Study in Eastern Canada. Forests. 2013; 4(4):766-785.
Gagné, Louis-Vincent; Genet, Astrid; Weiskittel, Aaron; Achim, Alexis. 2013. "Assessing the Potential Stem Growth and Quality of Yellow Birch Prior to Restoration: A Case Study in Eastern Canada." Forests 4, no. 4: 766-785.