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Research article2010Peer reviewed

Effects of timing and intensity of thinning on wood structure and chemistry in Norway spruce

Jyske T, Kaakinen S, Nilsson U, Saranpaa P, Vapaavuori E


The effects of thinning intensity on wood structure and chemistry of Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] have been studied in a long-term thinning experiment established in the 1960s in south-western Sweden. The experiment comprised datasets of unthinned control trees and trees of four thinning treatments, in which thinning operations of different intensities were carried out. These thinning operations were applied either once, three, or five times over the course of the stand rotation. Thinning intensities varied from 0% to 60% based on the stand basal area (BA) before thinning: (A) 5 x 20% (i.e., 20% of the BA removed five times); (B) 3 x 40% (i.e., 40% of the BA removed three times); (C) 1 x 60% (i.e., 60% of the BA removed once); and (D) 5 x 40% (i.e., 40% of the BA removed five times). Altogether 60 trees that were 67 years old were sampled 38 years after the treatment onset. Radial growth rate, wood density, tracheid properties, and the chemical composition of wood were studied in detail. All four thinning treatments increased growth rate and decreased wood density; however, treatment D showed the greatest change. Single, heavy thinning in treatment C resulted in unfavourable intra-stem variation in ring width and wood density. No significant differences in tracheid properties and wood chemistry were found between the treatments. We conclude that only a remarkable increase in growth rate would induce detrimental changes in tracheid properties and wood chemistry in the context of thinning.


cellulose; extractives; lignin; nitrogen; tracheid properties; wood density

Published in

2010, Volume: 64, number: 1, pages: 81-91

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Future Forests

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)