Long-term growth trends of red spruce and fraser fir at Mt. Rogers, Virginia and Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina
Cross-sectional area growth and height growth of Fraser fir and red spruce trees growing in Virginia and North Carolina were analyzed to identify possible long-term growth trends. Cross-sectional area growth provided no evidence of growth decline. The individual discs were classified according to parameter estimates of the growth trend equation. The predominant pattern of growth was a steady increase followed by fluctuation about a horizontal line. Other cross-sections exhibited a steady increase throughout the series. The only discs that represent declining growth patterns were from trees in subordinate crown position or which had previous top damage. No unexplained growth decline was present in any disc. The results regarding height growth were uncertain. A slight decline in height growth was present, although the authors suggest that this observation was due to problems with the data or the model used to fit height growth. These findings contradict other studies, suggesting that a recent growth decline has occurred in red spruce in the Southern Appalachians.