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Forests 2014, 5(6), 1194-1211; doi:10.3390/f5061194

Growth Response of Northern White-Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) to Natural Disturbances and Partial Cuts in Mixedwood Stands of Quebec, Canada

1
Centre d'étude de la forêt, Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, 2405 de la Terrasse, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
2
Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Natural Resources Canada, 1055 du P.E.P.S., Québec, QC G1V 4C7, Canada
3
Ligniculture Québec, 1030 de la Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
4
Association des Communes Forestières FNCOFOR, 14 rue de l'accord, Gardanne 13120, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 April 2014 / Revised: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 21 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
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Abstract

Northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis) is a species of high commercial and ecological value, the abundance of which has been declining since the middle of the 19th century. Very little information regarding its silviculture in mixedwood stands is currently available, even though a significant portion of wood resources comes from these stands. The present study is a retrospective analysis of white-cedar growth in partially harvested mixedwood stands of western Quebec, Canada. Eight stands distributed across two regions were analyzed. Dendrochronological approaches examined long-term diameter growth for sample white-cedar trees and stems of associated species. These approaches were used to reconstruct stand characteristics at the time of harvesting, together with local harvesting intensity. The study demonstrated white-cedar’s capacity to maintain good growth for long periods of time and at large tree sizes. Accession to the upper canopy positions occurs through repeated episodes of suppression/release, most of which seem to be associated with spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) outbreaks. White-cedar response to partial harvesting varies with tree size, residual basal area and species composition. Growth response was generally stronger for small trees, even though large trees still maintained the best diameter growth. Growth of white-cedar was negatively affected by an increase in softwood proportion in basal area. Growth responses to harvesting could be sustained for a period of 20 years. View Full-Text
Keywords: Thuja occidentalis; partial cutting; growth; natural disturbances Thuja occidentalis; partial cutting; growth; natural disturbances
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ruel, J.-C.; Lussier, J.-M.; Morissette, S.; Ricodeau, N. Growth Response of Northern White-Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) to Natural Disturbances and Partial Cuts in Mixedwood Stands of Quebec, Canada. Forests 2014, 5, 1194-1211.

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