Pipe-model ratio distributions and branch foliage biomass: differences between two sympatric spruce species.
Hugh Power, Valérie Lemay, Daniel Kneeshaw, Frank Berninger.
The foliage biomass–sapwood relationship (the pipe model) is critical for tree growth and is used in tree growth models for understanding the implications of this structural relationship on the allocation of resources. In this research, we compared this relationship for two commercially important and sympatric species, black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss). At locations in eastern Canada, 57 black and 50 white spruce trees were destructively sampled to obtain foliage biomass, crown structure, and tree stem measures. Using a model-based approach, we compared foliage biomass–branch basal area and foliage biomass–sapwood relationships at the tree and disk (i.e. along the tree stem) levels (i.e. pipe-model ratios) between these two species. We found that (i) branch foliage biomass–branch basal area was greater for black spruce than white spruce and (ii) pipe-model ratios along the tree stem given tree size were greater for black spruce than for white spruce. We attributed these differences to: (i) greater shade tolerance and leaf longevity of black spruce; (ii) slower growth rates of black spruce; and (iii) differing hydraulic strategies and mechanical requirements.