Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Division of Forestry and Natural Resources

Committee Chair

Jamie Schuler

Committee Member

Sophan Chhin

Committee Member

Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy


Red spruce (Picea rubens) was a prized timber species in West Virginia during the era of resource exploitation in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Consequently, Central Appalachian red spruce has faced large reductions in range and changes in stand composition. This region is relatively underrepresented in literature partially due to these constrictions. Investigating how stem growth occurs in young individuals can fill in some of our gaps in understanding the species and aid in restoration efforts. We sampled an array of high elevation sites on federal and state lands in West Virginia to analyze understory spruce growth and allometric relationships. We compared these relationships to those found in other regions in the range of red spruce. Stem analysis was carried out on understory trees. Results were applied to build reference curves to model growth percentiles for the young trees. Growth rates tend to peak between 10 and 30 years of age. Heights range from 0.95 m to 6.85 m after 50 years. Results allow for comparison of growth rates to the cohort of understory red spruce regionally. Nonlinear analysis was carried out on allometric measures on the same cohort of red spruce. Diameter at breast height was found to be a somewhat reliable predictor of total height as well as crown width. Total height was less reliable when predicting crown width. None of the three measures were found to be reliable for predicting tree age as may be expected with a shade tolerant species.