Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Missing growth rings at the trunk base in suppressed balsam fir saplings

By S. Parent, H. Morin and C. Messier


Numerous researchers have suggested a causal relationship between low leaf biomass in suppressed trees and the lack of radial growth at the base of the trunk. The objective of this study was to verify this relationship with suppressed balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) saplings found growing in an old-growth fir stand. A total of 29 saplings varying in height from 67 to 183 cm were uprooted. All saplings had adventitious roots. All terminal bud scars (TBS) found between the apex of the terminal leader and the trunk base (first adventitious root) as well as those found below ground were localized, and rings were counted between TBS along the aboveground trunk. Various morphological traits and the ratio of photosynthetic tissue dry mass (P, needles) to non-photosynthetic tissue dry mass (nP, above-ground stem) were used as an indicator of tree vigour. Between 3 and 33 rings counted along the aboveground trunk were missing at the trunk base. The number of missing rings at the base of the trunk was correlated with total height (r = 0.41), height growth (r = -0.51), radial growth (r = -0.44), the P/nP ratio (r = -0.73), and the proportion of live crown (r = -0.62). Moreover, from 2 to 35 additional rings, missing at the trunk base, were found in the belowground section of trunk and these missing rings were associated with the adventitious roots phenomenon. In conclusion, suppressed firs had missing rings at the base of the trunk. When all of the missing rings were added to the number of rings counted at the base of the trunk, age estimates provided a different temporal pattern of recruitment compared with that obtained by solely counting rings at the base of the trunk. Stem analysis on the entire trunk is the best aging method for suppressed balsam fir saplings

Topics: missing growth rings, suppressed balsam fir, old-growth, trunk base
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1139/X02-102
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1981). À propos de l’âge du sapin baumier et de sa détermination.
  2. (1996). A simple and efficient method to estimate microsite light availability under a forest canopy. doi
  3. (2002). Accurately ageing trees and examining their height-growth rates: implications for interpreting forest dynamics. doi
  4. (1988). Adaptation to sun vs. shade: a whole plant perspective. doi
  5. (1945). Adjustment of black spruce root system to increasing depth of peat. doi
  6. (2001). Balsam fir (Abies balsamea) establishment dynamics during a spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) outbreak: an evaluation of the impact of aging technique. doi
  7. (1994). Carbon allocation in trees: a review of concepts of modelling.
  8. (1995). Changes in radial increment in stems and roots of balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) after defoliation by spruce budworm. doi
  9. (1965). Changes in the growth pattern of white pine trees undergoing suppression. doi
  10. (2001). Comment — Effects of adventitious roots on age determination in balsam fir regeneration. doi
  11. (1984). Dendrochronology of a fir wave. doi
  12. (1993). Determining the germination date of woody plants: a proposed method for locating the root/shoot interface.
  13. (1994). Dynamics of balsam fir forests in relation to spruce budworm outbreaks in the Boreal Zone of Quebec. doi
  14. (1996). Dynamique de la régénération d’une pessière à lichen dans la zone de la pessière noire à mousses, nord du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (Québec).
  15. (2000). Effects of adventitious roots on age determination in balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) regeneration. doi
  16. (1995). Effets d’un gradient de lumière sur la croissance en hauteur et la morphologie de la cime du sapin baumier régénéré naturellement.
  17. (1999). Frequency of partial and missing rings in Acer saccharum in relation to canopy position and growth rate.
  18. (1980). Growth pattern of Abies mariesii sapling under conditions of open-growth and suppression. doi
  19. (1948). How old is a balsam fir tree?
  20. (2001). Invariant scaling relations across tree-dominated communities. doi
  21. (1997). Is ring count at ground level a good estimation of black spruce age? doi
  22. (1995). Juvenile tree survivorship as a component of shade tolerance. doi
  23. (1987). Les régions écologiques du Québec méridional. Deuxième approximation. Carte. Service de la recherche, ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources du
  24. (1990). Longevity and duration of radial growth in Douglas-fir branches. doi
  25. (1991). Measuring growth and development of stems. In Techniques and approaches in forest tree ecophysiology.
  26. (1997). Models of sapling mortality as a function of growth to characterize interspecific variation in ©
  27. (2000). Morphological indicators of growth response of coniferous advance regeneration to overstorey removal in the boreal forest.
  28. (1997). Physiology of woody plants. 2nd ed.
  29. (1995). Physiology plant ecology. 3rd ed.
  30. (1995). Plant stems: biomechanical adaptation for energy capture and influence on species distributions. In Plant stems: physiology and functional morphology. Edited by B.L.
  31. (1988). Plant strategies and the dynamics and structure of plant communities. doi
  32. (2002). Reply — Effects of adventitious roots on age determination in balsam fir regeneration. doi
  33. (1999). Root growth and absent ring in mature black spruce and balsam fir, doi
  34. (1997). Seedling bank dynamics in boreal balsam fir forests. doi
  35. (1983). Seedling stage of two subalpine Abies species in distinction from sapling stage: a matter-economic analysis. doi
  36. (2000). Species and stand dynamics in the mixed woods of Quebec’s southern boreal forest. doi
  37. (1981). Studies on the Abies population in Mt. doi
  38. (1995). The dendrochornological characteristics of alpine larch. doi
  39. (1994). The occurrence of non-ring producing branches in Abies lasiocarpa. doi
  40. (1991). The role of advanced growth in regeneration of red spruce and balsam fir in east centre Maine.
  41. (1996). Tree ring and environment dendroecology. Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.