UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Variation in Trembling Aspen and White Spruce Wood Quality Grown in Mixed and Single Species Stands in the Boreal Mixedwood Forest De Araujo, Francis; Hart, James F.; Mansfield, Shawn D.

Abstract

The Canadian boreal forest is largely represented by mixed wood forests of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx). In this study, a total of 300 trees originating from three sites composed of trembling aspen and white spruce with varying compositions were investigated for wood quality traits: one site was composed mainly of aspen, one mainly of spruce and a third was a mixed site. Four wood quality traits were examined: wood density, microfibril angle (MFA), fibre characteristics, and cell wall chemistry. Social classes were also determined for each site in an attempt to provide a more in-depth comparison. Wood density showed little variation among sites for both species, with only significant differences occurring between social classes. The aspen site showed statistically lower MFAs than the aspen from the mixed site, however, no differences were observed when comparing spruce. Fibre characteristics were higher in the pure species sites for both species. There were no differences in carbohydrate contents across sites, while lignin content varied. Overall, the use of social classes did not refine the characterization of sites.

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