Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 603–615 | Cite as

Lumber recovery and value of dead and sound black spruce trees grown in the North Shore region of Québec

  • Julie BarretteEmail author
  • David Pothier
  • David Auty
  • Alexis Achim
  • Isabelle Duchesne
  • Nancy Gélinas
Original Paper



To increase the wood supply to its industry, the government of Québec has allocated dead and sound wood (recently dead merchantable stems, DSW) to the wood supply chain in addition to the annual allowable cut of living trees. However, DSW is often criticized by sawmillers for its perceived poor quality and lower value.


The objective of this study was to compare the lumber visual grade yield and value from live and recently dead merchantable trees in three different states of wood decomposition.


In total, 162 black spruce trees [Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP] were felled from three different sites comprising three different states of wood decomposition and three diameter classes. The state of decomposition of each standing tree was categorized following Hunter’s classification (decay stages 1 & 2, 3 and 4) and the DSW classification developed by the Government of Québec.


Large trees (> 20 cm) of the Hunter 4 class have a lower value as a result of inferior quality.


Considering the current economic difficulties facing the forest industry and the requirements of ecosystem-based management, we recommend leaving in the forest trees that have reached such a state of deterioration.


Recently dead merchantable trees Lumber value Product recovery Volume recovery Wood degradation 



We are grateful to people involved in the field work: Eugénie Arsenault, Jean-Philippe Gagnon, Julie Gravel-Grenier and, Frauke Lenz. We would also like to thank Luc Bédard, Francis Tanguay, Ghislain Veilleux (FPInnovations), and Emmanuel Duchateau and Filip Havreljuk (Laval University) for their help during the sawmill trial. Our gratitude also goes to the Boisaco forest and sawmill staff for their valued collaboration in this project.


Financial support for this project came from FQRNT and the NSERC–Université Laval industrial research chair in silviculture and wildlife.


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Copyright information

© INRA / Springer-Verlag France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Barrette
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Pothier
    • 1
  • David Auty
    • 2
  • Alexis Achim
    • 2
  • Isabelle Duchesne
    • 3
  • Nancy Gélinas
    • 2
  1. 1.Université Laval, Pavillon Abitibi-PriceSainte-FoyCanada
  2. 2.Université Laval, Pavillon Gene-H.-KrugerSainte-FoyCanada
  3. 3.Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources CanadaSainte-FoyCanada

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