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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 150157, 15 pages
Research Article

Yield Responses of Black Spruce to Forest Vegetation Management Treatments: Initial Responses and Rotational Projections

Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada P6A 2E5

Received 9 June 2011; Revised 17 August 2011; Accepted 4 October 2011

Academic Editor: John Sessions

Copyright © 2012 Peter F. Newton. 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.


The objectives of this study were to (1) quantitatively summarize the early yield responses of black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) to forest vegetation management (FVM) treatments through a meta-analytical review of the scientific literature, and (2) given (1), estimate the rotational consequences of these responses through model simulation. Based on a fixed-effects meta-analytic approach using 44 treated-control yield pairs derived from 12 experiments situated throughout the Great Lakes—St. Lawrence and Canadian Boreal Forest Regions, the resultant mean effect size (response ratio) and associated 95% confidence interval for basal diameter, total height, stem volume, and survival responses, were respectively: 54.7% (95% confidence limits (lower/upper): 34.8/77.6), 27.3% (15.7/40.0), 198.7% (70.3/423.5), and 2.9% (−5.5/11.8). The results also indicated that early and repeated treatments will yield the largest gains in terms of mean tree size and survival. Rotational simulations indicated that FVM treatments resulted in gains in stand-level operability (e.g., reductions of 9 and 5 yr for plantations established on poor-medium and good-excellent site qualities, resp.). The challenge of maintaining coniferous forest cover on recently disturbed sites, attaining statutory-defined free-to-grow status, and ensuring long-term productivity, suggest that FVM will continue to be an essential silvicultural treatment option when managing black spruce plantations.