Evaluating the accuracy of field-measured stand age data in black spruce peatlands

Authors: Samantha Jones*, Bemidji State University
Topics: Natural Resources, Field Methods, Physical Geography
Keywords: tree ring, black spruce, stand age, peatland
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download


Understanding forest stand age is an important factor in setting sustainable timber harvest levels. The current method of estimating stand age on most public forestland is to extract breast-height increment core samples from select trees and count the annual growth rings in the field. Black spruce (Picea mariana) exhibit relatively slow growth rates, especially on less productive sites, and often produce narrow annual growth rings that can be difficult to count accurately in a field setting, leading to potential errors in the forest inventory database.

In the spring of 2016, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff at the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area collected ground-level and breast-height black spruce cores (n=311) across a range of peatland native plant communities and site index conditions. Core samples were processed and analyzed at the Bemidji State University ring lab using standard dendrochronological methods to compare stand age information of lab-measured data with the field-estimated forest inventory for these sites.

Preliminary age analysis results indicate these are uneven-ages stands, with very few lab-measured ages matching the inventory database age. Ongoing work will compare current site index estimates of years to reach breast height with this dataset to refine site-specific understanding of black spruce growth rates and productivity.

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