Modeled diameter growth response to intermediate treatments of planted white spruce (Picea glauca) affected by eastern spruce budworm (choristoneura fumiferana) in minnesota, U.S.A.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


White spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) plantations have historically been an important source of high-quality forest products in the Great Lakes Region of North America. Thinning in spruce plantations is a common silvicultural practice for reducing competition and promoting resiliency to forest health threats such as eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana Clemens), a native forest pest of eastern North America. Spruce budworm larvae feed on the foliage of trees, which reduces growth and potentially causes mortality during an outbreak. There has been continual spruce budworm defoliation in northern Minnesota, U.S.A., since the mid-1950s, with higher levels of defoliation in the late 1990s. This research modeled the diameter growth response of white spruce 18 years after initial thinning in stands that presently range between 44 and 64 years old. Some stands received a second thinning in recent years. We used generalized nonlinear least squares and nonlinear mixed-effects models to estimate annual diameter growth using common tree and stand metrics. Growth model performance was improved by including thinning and frequency of spruce budworm defoliation as modifiers of diameter growth. Results of this study highlight how thinning in combination with insect disturbance affect diameter growth in white spruce plantations of northern Minnesota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1633-1637
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Forest health
  • Growth and yield
  • Picea glauca
  • Plantations
  • Thinning

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