iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Methods to inventory and strip thin in dense stands of aspen root suckers

William L Headlee   , Richard B Hall

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 5, Pages 590-595 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1461-008
Published: Apr 22, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Aspen and their hybrids have demonstrated high biomass productivity and can produce abundant regeneration in the form of root suckers. This makes aspen particularly intriguing for bio-energy production, because replanting costs can be avoided and additional biomass can be obtained by thinning the regenerating stands. Mechanical strip thinning (removal of stems in parallel strips) has been proposed as a fast and efficient method for capturing biomass that would otherwise be lost to mortality in such stands. However, determining the appropriate width for the residual rows is challenging, due to the difficulty of conducting inventories with traditional sampling tools and the variability in gap sizes between root suckers in the residual rows. In this study, we describe the development and testing of a simple inventory tool that may be used to conduct either fixed-area or variable-radius sampling in these stands. Also described is the development and testing of an equation that uses such inventory data along with Poisson distribution theory to predict the size of the largest gap between root suckers within residual rows, which in turn can be used to inform strip thinning operations. Based on the promising results of our limited tests, we encourage further evaluation of these methods with regeneration from planted and natural aspen stands, as well as other root suckering species.


Bio-energy, Coppice, Poisson Distribution, Populus, Thinning

Authors’ address

William L Headlee
Richard B Hall
Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, 339 Science Hall 2, Ames, 50011-3221 Iowa (USA)

Corresponding author

William L Headlee


Headlee WL, Hall RB (2015). Methods to inventory and strip thin in dense stands of aspen root suckers. iForest 8: 590-595. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1461-008

Academic Editor

Luca Salvati

Paper history

Received: Oct 01, 2014
Accepted: Mar 24, 2015

First online: Apr 22, 2015
Publication Date: Oct 01, 2015
Publication Time: 0.97 months

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