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Forests 2018, 9(9), 546;

Effect of Stem Diameter, Genetics, and Wood Properties on Stem Cracking in Norway Spruce

Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Street, LV-2169 Salaspils, Latvia
Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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The choice of seed material (genetics) is one of the tools that can improve adaptation to the changing climate. Insufficient adaptation can result in a number of potential risks, including stem cracking. The goal of this study is to assess the influence of genetics and wood properties on stem cracking in Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst). The study was conducted on a 35-year-old provenance trial in Eastern Latvia. Stem cracks were assessed using a six-score scale. Tree-ring parameters, i.e., latewood proportion, maximum and mean density, mean earlywood, and latewood density were analysed. The overall incidence of stem cracking was 23.5%, varying between 0% and 79% at a family mean level. Heritability of stem cracking was low, ca., two times lower than for the diameter at breast height (DBH): h2 = 0.09 and 0.21, respectively. There were non-significant family and provenance effects on the occurrence of stem cracks, and weak family mean correlations between DBH, and the proportion of trees with any stem cracks or severe stem cracks. Overall, larger trees were more prone to cracking irrespective of provenance or family. Cracked trees had lower wood density parameters than unaffected trees, yet the latewood proportion was similar. Silvicultural treatments or selection to improve wood density could be suggested to reduce the risk of stem cracking. View Full-Text
Keywords: stem scars; stem defects; heritability; wood density stem scars; stem defects; heritability; wood density

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Zeltiņš, P.; Katrevičs, J.; Gailis, A.; Maaten, T.; Bāders, E.; Jansons, Ā. Effect of Stem Diameter, Genetics, and Wood Properties on Stem Cracking in Norway Spruce. Forests 2018, 9, 546.

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