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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 7895289, 12 pages
Research Article

Developmental Trends of Black Spruce Fibre Attributes in Maturing Plantations

Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 1219 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada P6A 2E5

Received 8 June 2016; Revised 2 August 2016; Accepted 26 September 2016

Academic Editor: Kurt Johnsen

Copyright © 2016 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.


This study assessed the temporal developmental patterns of commercially relevant fibre attributes (tracheid length and diameters, wall thickness, specific surface area, wood density, microfibril angle, fibre coarseness, and modulus of elasticity) and their interrelationships within maturing black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) plantations. A size-based stratified random sample procedure within 5 semimature plantations located in the Canadian Boreal Forest Region was used to select 50 trees from which radial cross-sectional xylem sequences at breast-height (1.3 m) were cut and analyzed. Statistically, the graphical and linear correlation analyses indicated that the attributes exhibited significant () relationships among themselves and with morphological tree characteristics. Relative variation of each annually measured attribute declined with increasing size class (basal area quintile). The transitional shifts in temporal correlation patterns occurring at the time of approximate crown closure where suggestive of intrinsic differences in juvenile and mature wood formation processes. The temporal cumulative development patterns of all 8 of the annually measured attributes varied systematically with tree size and exhibited the most rapid rates of change before the trees reached a cambial age of 20 years. At approximately 50 years after establishment, plantation mean attribute values were not dissimilar from those reported for more mature natural-origin stands.