Growth pattern of Picea rubens prior to canopy recruitment Academic Article uri icon


  • A majority (72%) of Picea rubens Sarg. (red spruce) trees in an old-growth spruce-fir forest in the Great Smoky Mountains underwent episodes of radial growth suppression and release before they reached the forest canopy. Prior to canopy recruitment, trees experienced an average of 1.43 and a maximum of 7 suppression periods with an average ring width of 0.257 mm. Duration of suppression periods ranged from 4 to 79 years with an average of 19.05 years, which was significantly shorter than the average duration of release periods (29.00 years). Mean ring width in a suppression period was negatively correlated with duration of the suppression period. The opposite was true for release periods. The severity of suppression had no significant effect on mean ring width in subsequent release periods. Greater suppression was observed in the recent growth pattern of current non-canopy trees than in the historical growth pattern reconstructed from current canopy trees. Growth releases prior to canopy recruitment, triggered by small gaps or neighboring gaps. displayed a continuous pattern over the last two centuries and had consistent frequency in recent decades. By contrast, canopy recruitment resulting from large-gap disturbances was discontinuous over the last two centuries, and less frequent after 1850.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, X. Y., McCormick, J. F., & Busing, R. T.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Wu, XY||McCormick, JF||Busing, RT

publication date

  • February 1999