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Corvallis, OR, United States

Lowell E.C.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Maguire D.A.,Oregon State University | Briggs D.G.,University of Washington | Turnblom E.C.,University of Washington | And 2 more authors.
Forests | Year: 2014

Douglas-fir is the most commercially important timber species in the US Pacific Northwest due to its ecological prevalence and its superior wood attributes, especially strength and stiffness properties that make it highly prized for structural applications. Its economic significance has led to extensive establishment and management of plantations over the last few decades. Cultural treatments and genetic improvement designed to increase production of utilizable wood volume also impact tree morphology and wood properties. Many of these impacts are mediated by crown development, particularly the amount and distribution of foliage and size and geometry of branches. Natural selection for branch architecture that optimizes reproductive fitness may not necessarily be optimal for stem volume growth rate or for wood properties controlling the quality of manufactured solid wood products. Furthermore, Douglas-fir does not self-prune within the rotation lengths currently practiced. This paper synthesizes extensive Douglas-fir research in the Pacific Northwest addressing: (1) the effects of silviculture and genetics on branch structure and associated consequences for wood quality and the product value chain; and (2) methods to measure, monitor, modify, and model branch attributes to assist managers in selecting appropriate silvicultural techniques to achieve wood quality objectives and improve the value of their Douglas-fir resource. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

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