Wood density-climate relationships are mediated by dominance class in black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.)

Wei Xiang, David Auty, Tony Franceschini, Mathew Leitch, Alexis Achim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The relationships between climate and wood density components, i.e., minimum ring density, maximum ring density and mean ring density have been studied mainly in dominant trees. However, the applicability of the findings to trees of other dominance classes is unclear. The aim of this study was to address whether climate differentially influences wood density components among dominance classes. X-ray densitometry data was obtained from 72 black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) trees harvested in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. Dominant, co-dominant and intermediate trees were sampled and the data analysed using mixed-effect modelling techniques. For each density component, models were first fitted to the pooled data using ring width and cambial age as predictors, before monthly climatic variables were integrated into the models. Then, separate models were fitted to the data from each dominance class. In general, the addition of climatic factors led to a small but significant improvement in model performance. The predicted historical trends were well synchronized with the observed data. Our results indicate that trees from all dominance classes in a stand should be sampled in order to fully characterize wood density-climate relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1184
Number of pages22
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Black spruce
  • Climate
  • Dominance class
  • Wood density
  • X-ray densitometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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