An appreciation of Lodgepole pine provenance
The document is courtesy of Inverness Ross and Skye Forest District.
This important document by Forestry Commission Research Officer J R Aldous distributed in 1964 summarises the then known attributes of the various types or provenances of Lodgepole pine growing in the UK. He groups the wide span of Lodgepole pine varieties into 10 groups of provenances:
1. West Coast of Washington and Oregon; Olympic Peninsula.
2. Lower Fraser River, Puget Sound, East and SE Coast of Vancouver Island
3. Queen Charlotte Islands BC and Hollis Alaska
4. Skagway and ‘S E Alaska’
5. Skeena River (Terrace and Hazelton)
6. Central Interior BC
7. Southern Interior BC excluding Shuswap Lake
8. Shuswap lake
9. Alberta and Rocky mountains
10. Cascade Mountains, Oregon
John Aldhous goes on to describe the characteristics of the individual provenances in some detail such as bark, needle, cone and branching habit and in a third section describes the response of each provenance to various site types.
Regarding South Coastal (Provenance 1) he highlights the high growth rates and survival of this type on a wide range of sites. He does however emphasise the stem curvature and tendency to blow over or lie flat.
History records that the Forestry Commission went on to plant many thousands of hectares of this provenance from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s which developed pronounced butt sweep, leaned over and blew down proving a nightmare to harvest with large volumes ending up under the wheels of harvesters. The bio fuel market arrived too late for this situation and undoubtedly would have provided another outlet for the timber. As it turned out the deep peat areas where this and other provenances were planted ended up after clear felling as sites to be returned to open peatland to conserve the carbon locked up in the peat. The Southern and Central Interior provenances proved no match for the wet windy exposed sites of northern Scotland and many areas simply died on their feet. Generally however as a species there was no other tree which grew as well on the poor quality soil areas and peats of Scotland and was a brilliant pioneer and nurse species. The Queen Charlotte and other North Coastal provenances and to a much lesser extent Skeena River have and continue to prove their value.
Any comments agreeing with and contrary to the above would be very welcome as would experiences in working with the species.
Picture added on 20 September 2017 at 19:39