Date of Award

1979

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Plant Sciences and Entomology

First Advisor

Walter P. Gould

Abstract

Fuelwood biomass production was determined for three coppice origin, even-aged, mixed-hardwood stands growing on moderately well-drained sites in Washington County, Rhode Island. A total of 93 trees including mixed-oaks and red maple, ranging from 7.6 to 30.5 cm in diameter were destructively sampled.

Sample trees were felled, sectioned and separated into two components: stemwood and branchwood. Total green weight by component was recorded for each tree in the field. Components were subsampled to permit oven-dry weight and specific gravity determinations. Although no relationship was found between specific gravity and rate of diameter growth, specific gravities for black oak species were found significantly different from white oak and red maple.

Values based upon component subsamples were used to project fuelwood production per unit area on a weight and volume basis. Average cordwood production for the study sites was approximately 73 cords per hectare (30 cords per acre), while mean annual increment was 1.6 cords per hectare (.65 cords per acre). Fuelwood estimates closely paralleled those of previous studies conducted for Appalachian hardwoods in southern New England.

Increased fuelwood utilization has created a demand for methods to quickly estimate tree and stand biomass. This paper presents equations and tables to estimate green and oven-dry weights for individual trees and species, diameter classes and entire stands. Weight estimates were obtained through use of equations developed by regression analysis. Analyses indicated natural logarithm transformation on diameter and tree basal area multiplied by total tree height accounted for most of the variation in whole-tree weight. Estimates of total stand biomass were developed from equations including natural log transformation on basal area per unit area, and total stand basal area multiplied by the height of the tree of mean basal area. Coefficients of determination, R2 , calculated for stand biomass estimates were .88 using basal area and .91 using basal area times height.

An attempt was made to relate differences in site pro-ductivity to soil characteristics. It was established that soil texture, organic carbon content, available water and depth of solum are strongly correlated with tree-growth parameters. However, sample size was insufficient to permit the development of meaningful equations for determining site productivity. Also, results indicated that biotic competition may overshadow the importance of edaphic factors in influencing tree growth.

Tree height did not appear to work well in indexing site productivity. Site index was variable on soils considered similar in terms of their abilities to grow trees.

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