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Forests 2014, 5(6), 1163-1184; doi:10.3390/f5061163

Wood Density-Climate Relationships Are Mediated by Dominance Class in Black Spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.)

1,* , 2
1 Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1, Canada 2 Renewable Materials Research Centre, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, QC G1V 0A6, Canada 3 Chaire de recherche sur la forêt habitée, Département de Biologie, Chimie et Géographie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
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The relationships between climate and wood density components, i.e., minimum ring density, maximum ring density and mean ring density have been studied mainly in dominant trees. However, the applicability of the findings to trees of other dominance classes is unclear. The aim of this study was to address whether climate differentially influences wood density components among dominance classes. X-ray densitometry data was obtained from 72 black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) trees harvested in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. Dominant, co-dominant and intermediate trees were sampled and the data analysed using mixed-effect modelling techniques. For each density component, models were first fitted to the pooled data using ring width and cambial age as predictors, before monthly climatic variables were integrated into the models. Then, separate models were fitted to the data from each dominance class. In general, the addition of climatic factors led to a small but significant improvement in model performance. The predicted historical trends were well synchronized with the observed data. Our results indicate that trees from all dominance classes in a stand should be sampled in order to fully characterize wood density-climate relationships.
Keywords: wood density; climate; black spruce; dominance class; X-ray densitometry wood density; climate; black spruce; dominance class; X-ray densitometry
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Xiang, W.; Auty, D.; Franceschini, T.; Leitch, M.; Achim, A. Wood Density-Climate Relationships Are Mediated by Dominance Class in Black Spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.). Forests 2014, 5, 1163-1184.

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