Priortizing crown dieback when tree marking increases value recovery as well as stand vigor.
Keywords:northern hardwoods, crown dieback, tree marking
In northern hardwood forests, tree markers select the trees to be harvested during logging operations using classification systems that assign harvest priorities based on the presence and severity of a wide range of individual defects. According to the most recent advances in our understanding of the impact of these defects on both tree vigour (reflecting the risk of dying or declining in growth) and quality (reflecting the potential for recovering valuable sawlogs), these systems would benefit from prioritizing the removal of trees with crown dieback and substantially reducing the number of stem defects included. In this study, we compared the potential advantages and disadvantages of such simplified tree marking system over those currently used in the province of Quebec, Canada. To do so, we conducted tree marking simulation and value recovery assessment in 14 managed stands distributed across the northern hardwood range. Our results confirmed that the simplified system not only facilitated stand improvement, but also significantly recovered more value (17 % on average) at the stand scale.