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Comments

provided by eFloras
Betula papyrifera is a well-known tree of the northern forest with its paper-thin, white, peeling bark. The bark, which has a high oil content and is consequently waterproof, was used for a wide variety of building and clothing purposes by the American Indians, including the covering of the familiar birch bark canoe. It is still used for various purposes, including basketmaking, in Canada and Alaska. Variants having more or less close, dark brown bark ( B . papyrifera var. commutata ) occur locally throughout the wide range of this species; this characteristic appears to be largely environmentally caused. The species is an important successional tree, coming up readily after fires, logging, or the abandonment of cultivated land. The relatively soft, whitish wood is used extensively for such items as clothespins, spools, ice cream sticks, and toothpicks, as well as for pulpwood for paper.

Betula papyrifera is the state tree of New Hampshire.

Native Americans use Betula papyrifera medicinally in enemas, to shrivel the womb, to alleviate stomach cramps and pain, and as a tonic (D. E. Moerman 1986).

Betula × sandbergii Britton is a fairly common hybrid, occurring where the ranges of the parents ( B . papyrifera Marshall and B . pumila Linnaeus) come into contact. In most vegetative features it is intermediate between the parental conditions (K. E. Clausen 1963; C. O. Rosendahl 1928).

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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

provided by eFloras
Trees , to 30 m, usually 20 m or shorter; trunks often single, sometimes 2 or more, mature crowns narrowly round. Bark of young trunks and branches dark reddish brown, smooth, in maturity creamy to chalky white or pale to (infrequently) dark brown, readily exfoliating in paper-thin sheets; lenticels pale, horizontal, in maturity dark, much expanded, horizontal. Twigs without strong odor and taste of wintergreen, slightly to moderately pubescent, infrequently with scattered, small, resinous glands. Leaf blade ovate with 9 or fewer pairs of lateral veins, 5--9(--12) × 4--7 cm, base rounded, cuneate, or truncate, margins sharply to coarsely or irregularly doubly serrate or serrate-dentate, apex acute to short-acuminate; surfaces abaxially sparsely to moderately pubescent, often velutinous along major veins and in vein axils, covered with minute, resinous glands. Infructescences pendulous, cylindric, 2.5--5 × 0.6--1.2 cm, readily shattering with fruits in late fall; scales pubescent to glabrous, lobes diverging at or proximal to middle, central lobe narrowly elongate, obtuse, lateral lobes about equal in length to central lobe but several times broader, strongly divergent, held nearly at right angles to axis. Samaras with wings as broad as or slightly broader than body, extended nearly beyond body apically. 2 n = 56, 70, 84.
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Distribution

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St. Pierre and Miquelon; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Colo., Conn., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.Dak., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.Dak., Vt., Va., Wash., Wis., Wyo.
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flowering/Fruiting

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Flowering late spring.
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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Habitat

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Moist, ± open, upland forest, especially on rocky slopes, also sometimes in swampy woods; 300--900m.
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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Synonym

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Betula alba Linnaeus var. papyrifera (Marshall) Spach; B. papyracea Aiton; B. papyrifera var. commutata (Regel) Fernald; B. papyrifera var. elobata (Fernald) Sargent; B. papyrifera var. macrostachya Fernald; B. papyrifera var. pensilis Fernald; B. papyrifera var. subcordata (Rydberg) Sargent
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
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Flora of North America Vol. 3 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Brief Summary

provided by EOL authors
Betula papyrifera is a broadly distributed tree in northern North America, occurring in Alaska, every Canadian province except Nunavit and some northern USA states. This species is often found in the southern part of the range of Black spruce dominance, and is an early invader after fire disturbance to Black spruce forests.

Preferred habitat for the Paper birch are moist, somewhat open, upland forest. This species especially thrives on rocky slopes and occasionally in swampy woods. Elevations of occurrence are typically 300 to 900 metres.
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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: basal area, fern, flame length, forest, hardwood, surface fire, top-kill

On the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota, prescribed burning in
mid-May in aspen slash top-killed all 4- to 15-inch-diameter (10-38 cm)
paper birch trees.  These sprouted within a few weeks of the fire, but
sprout mortality over the next few years resulted in 11 percent of the
original trees dead by postfire year 5 [49].

Low-intensity prescribed surface fires (mean flame length > 1 foot [0.3
m], mean rate of spread of 10.8 feet [3.3 m] per minute) in a
30-year-old mixed hardwood stand in central Wisconsin did not kill or
top-kill any paper birch trees greater than 4 inches (10 cm) in trunk
diameter.  Most of the saplings less than 4 inches in trunk diameter,
however, were top-killed [54].

On the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, 22 percent of paper birch trees were
unaffected, while 78 percent had dead or partially dead aerial crowns 2
years after a light surface fire [69].  Forty-two percent of top-killed
trees produced sprouts.

Prescribed burning in a northern Wisconsin bracken fern (Pteridium
aquilinum)-grassland killed 31 percent of paper birch trees present.
The rest were top-killed but later sprouted.  Basal area was reduced by
90 percent [68].
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bibliographic citation
Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Common Names

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
paper birch
white birch
canoe birch
silver birch
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Cover Value

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More info for the term: cover

Young paper birch stands provide prime deer and moose cover [57].
Numerous cavity-nesting birds nest in paper birch, including
woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, and swallows [44,56].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Description

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More info for the term: tree

Paper birch is a medium-sized, single- or multiple-stemmed, deciduous
tree.  In forests it typically has a slender trunk with a narrow crown,
but in openings it has a wider crown spreading out from near the base
[24].  Multiple-stemmed trees are relatively common as a result of
browsing by moose and snowshoe hares [21].  Throughout much of its range,
mature trees are 70 to 80 feet (21-24 m) tall and 10 to 12 inches (25-30
cm) in trunk diameter, but sometimes grow up to 30 inches (75 cm) in
diameter [31,57].  In Alaska, paper birch trees are commonly 20 to 60
feet (6-18 m) high and 4 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) in trunk diameter [66].

Paper birch is short-lived.  Height growth ceases at about 60 to 70
years of age; few trees live more than 140 years [24].  Paper birch is
shallow-rooted with few roots found deeper than 24 inches (60 cm) below
the soil surface [57].  The bark is reddish-brown on saplings.  On
mature trees bark is thin, white, and smooth, often separating into
papery strips, and is easily peeled off in sheets [24,66].

Male and female flowers occur in separate, pendulous catkins on the same
tree [24].  Fruits are winged-nutlets 0.06 inch (1.5 mm) long by 0.03
inch (0.8 mm) wide [57].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Distribution

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More info for the term: tree

Paper birch has a transcontinental distribution across northern North
America.  It grows from Newfoundland and Labrador west along the
northern limit of tree growth across Canada to northwestern Alaska,
south to Washington, east and north in the mountains to western Montana
and southwestern Alberta, east across the Prairie Provinces to Manitoba,
and south and east through the Lake States to New England.  Scattered
outlying populations occur in the Great Plains of Montana and North
Dakota, the Black Hills, the Appalachian Mountains from central New York
to western North Carolina, and the Front Range of Colorado [57].  Paper
birch is cultivated in Hawaii [79].

Detailed descriptions of the ranges of the six varieties are available
[38,66].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Fire Ecology

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More info for the terms: fire regime, forest, root collar, seed, top-kill

Adaptation to fire:  Paper birch is well adapted to fire, recovering
quickly by means of seedling establishment and vegetative regeneration
[1,39,67].  Seedling establishment is the most significant method of
postfire recovery.  Paper birch is a prolific producer of lightweight
seeds that are easily dispersed by wind and readily germinate on
fire-prepared seedbeds.  Young trees sprout from the root collar
following top-kill, but sprouting ability decreases after about 40 to 60
years of age [51].

Fire regime:  Throughout most of Alaska and Canada, paper birch is found
in boreal spruce and mixedwood forest types that burn at 50 to 150 year
intervals [17,29]. 

Fire behavior: As a forest type, paper birch stands are one of the least
flammable.  The canopy often has a high moisture content and the
understory is lush [21].  Crown fires in coniferous stands often stop at
the boundary of large paper birch stands or become slow-moving ground
fires [21,64].  As a result of this fire behavior, some large paper
birch trees often survive fire in pure stands, and thus become seed
trees for postfire establishment [51].  During dry periods, paper birch
stands will burn readily.

FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find FIRE REGIMES".
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Fire Management Considerations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: prescribed fire, seed

Prescribed fire can be used to prepare cut-over sites for paper birch
seed regeneration.  In Maine, prescribed burning following winter
logging favored paper birch establishment more than other treatments
did.  Burning or disking following logging exposed mineral soils on more
than 70 percent of the logged area, while logging alone during the
summer or winter, resulted in only 5 percent mineral soil exposure.
Fourteen seed trees per acre (35/ha) were left on each treatment site.
Paper birch seedling establishment was as follows [78]:


Treatment                Posttreatment year 1     Posttreatment year 10
                          #/acre    #/ha           #/acre     #/ha

winter logging/disked    245,400   605,200         3,300      8,200
winter logging/burned     50,100   123,700         4,800     11,900
summer logging only       65,700   162,300         1,700      4,200
winter logging only       33,700    83,200         1,900      4,700

Prescribed fire can be used to enhance deer and moose winter habitat by
killing late successional conifers and promoting early successional
browse species such as paper birch [69].  It generally takes 3 to 5
years after fire for paper birch sprout and seedling growth to provide
adequate browse for deer and moose [57].  Peak browse production is
generally between 10 and 16 years after fire [57].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat characteristics

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: bog, lichens, peat, shrubs, tree

Paper birch grows in climates ranging from boreal to humid and tolerates
wide variations in the amount and pattern of precipitation [24].  It
grows at the northern limit of tree growth in arctic Canada and Alaska,
in boreal spruce woodlands and forests, in montane and subalpine forests
of the West, in wooded draws of the northern Great Plains, and in
coniferous, deciduous, and, mixed forests of the Northeast and Lake
States [18].  It is shade-intolerant, and abundant on burned-over and
cut-over lands where it often forms pure stands [31].  It is restricted
to openings in older forests.

Paper birch is most abundant on rolling upland terrain and alluvial
sites but grows on almost any soil and topographic situation, including
rugged mountain slopes, open slopes, rock slides, muskegs, and borders
of bogs and swamps [21,24,57].  In interior Alaska, paper birch tends to
dominate cool, moist, north and east aspects, while aspen dominates
warmer and drier, south and west aspects [57].  In the mountains of New
England and New York, paper birch is one of the few hardwoods found near
timberline [76].  In North Dakota, it is mostly restricted to moist
draws on north-facing slopes [9].

Soils:  Paper birch grows best on deep, well-drained to moderately
well-drained, sandy or silty Spodosols, Inceptisols, and Entisols common
on glacial deposits [24,57].  It grows on a wide range of soil textures
from gravels to silts, and grows on organic bog and peat soils [24].

Associated trees:  In addition to those species listed under Habitat
Types and Plant Communities, common associates include bigtooth aspen
(Populus grandidentata), pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), yellow birch,
gray birch (Betula populifolia), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple
(A. rubrum), and white ash (Fraxinus americana) in the southern and
eastern part of its range, and red spruce (Picea rubens) and jack pine
in boreal regions [76].

Understory:  Conifer seedlings and saplings are typical under mature
paper birch stands.  Associated shrubs include American green alder
(Alnus crispa), beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), raspberries and
blackberries (Rubus spp.), common bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi),
blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), Bebb willow (Salix bebbiana), Scouler
willow (S. scouleriana), highbush cranberry (Viburnum edule),
Labrador-tea (Ledum groenlandicum), elder (Sambucus spp.), gooseberry
(Ribes spp.), and dwarf bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
[20,57,66].  In Alaska, Canada reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis) is
prominent in paper birch stands, but other grasslike plants, sedges
(Carex spp.), and lichens are principally absent [39].  In Labrador,
lush herbs create a nearly continuous ground layer under paper birch
stands [20].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Cover Types

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More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

     1  Jack pine
     5  Balsam fir
    12  Black spruce
    14  Northern pin oak
    15  Red pine
    16  Aspen
    17  Pin cherry
    18  Paper birch
    19  Gray birch - red maple
    20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple
    21  Eastern white pine
    22  White pine - hemlock
    23  Eastern hemlock
    24  Hemlock - yellow birch
    25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
    27  Sugar maple
    30  Red spruce - yellow birch
    31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech
    32  Red spruce
    33  Red spruce - balsam fir
    35  Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir
    37  Northern white cedar
    39  Black ash - American elm - red maple
    55  Northern red oak
    60  Beech - sugar maple
   107  White spruce
   108  Red maple
   201  White spruce
   202  White spruce - paper birch
   203  Balsam poplar
   204  Black spruce
   206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
   210  Interior Douglas-fir
   213  Grand fir
   217  Aspen
   222  Black cottonwood - willow
   224  Western hemlock
   228  Western redcedar
   251  White spruce - aspen
   252  Paper birch
   253  Black spruce - white spruce
   254  Black spruce - paper birch
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Ecosystem

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More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES22  Western white pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce
   FRES25  Larch
   FRES28  Western hardwoods
   FRES38  Plains grasslands
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Plant Associations

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More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: forest

   K011  Western ponderosa forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K013  Cedar - hemlock - pine forest
   K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K015  Western spruce - fir forest
   K017  Black Hills pine forest
   K066  Wheatgrass - needlegrass
   K081  Oak savanna
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest
   K098  Northern floodplain forest
   K102  Beech - maple forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods
   K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest
   K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Immediate Effect of Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Fire generally kills or top-kills most paper birch trees; the thin,
flammable bark makes the bole highly susceptible to girdling even by
light surface fires [17,21,31].  Although the bark of older trees is
thicker, it is also more flammable once it begins to exfoliate [39].

Paper birch seeds on the ground are destroyed by fire.  Summer fires do
not necessarily consume the catkins, but immature seeds will not ripen
on killed or top-killed trees [63]. 
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

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More info for the term: tree

Paper birch is an important moose browse throughout most of its range.
Its nutritional quality is poor in the winter, but it is important to
wintering moose because of its sheer abundance in young stands [57].
Peek [49] listed paper birch as one of the five most important browse
species eaten by moose in the East.  In some areas, paper birch leaves
are important in moose summer diets [36].  Although considered a
"secondary-choice food", paper birch is an important dietary component
of white-tailed deer [33].  In Minnesota, white-tailed deer eat
considerable amounts of paper birch leaves in the fall [32].

Snowshoe hares browse paper birch seedlings and saplings and porcupines
feed on the inner bark of trees [57].  In Newfoundland, paper birch was
a preferred hare browse [33].  Paper birch is also eaten by beaver [24].

Numerous birds and small mammals eat paper birch buds, catkins and
seeds.  Redpolls, siskins, and chickadees obtain a considerable portion
of their annual diet from birch seeds [51,57].  Voles and shrews also
eat the seeds [51].  Ruffed grouse eat paper birch catkins and buds
[57].

Paper birch is a favorite feeding tree of yellow-bellied sapsuckers,
which peck holes in the bark to feed on the sap [33].  Hummingbirds and
red squirrels also feed at sapwells in paper birch created by sapsuckers
[44].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Key Plant Community Associations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: climax, forest, woodland

In boreal spruce ecosystems, paper birch forms nearly pure, pioneer
communities on disturbed sites.  It is rare in late successional or
climax forests and generally restricted to openings.  It is a principal
component of boreal mixedwoods in Canada because its pioneering habit is
favored by the relatively frequent 50- to 125-year fire return interval
[17].  Codominants in mixedwoods include trembling aspen (Populus
tremuloides), black spruce (Picea mariana), white spruce (P.  glauca),
jack pine (Pinus banksiana), and balsam fir (Abies balsamifera).  In the
Northern Great Plains, paper birch forms climax woodland communities on
moist, north- or east-facing slopes [23,28].

Published classifications listing paper birch as a dominant in community
types (cts), habitat types (hts), plant associations (pas), or ecosystem
associations (eas) are presented below:

      Area                 Classification            Authority

interior AK               postfire cts           Foote 1983
AK                        general veg. cts       Viereck & Dyrness 1980
AK: Kenai Peninsula       forest veg. cts        Reynolds 1990
MN: Boundary Waters       general veg. cts       Ohmann & Ream 1971
 Canoe Area        
e MT, ne WY, w ND,        forest & woodland hts  Hansen & others 1984
 w SD: Missouri Plateau
sw ND                     woodland hts           Girard & others 1989

c NF                      forest veg. cts        Damman 1964
PQ: Gaspe Peninsula       forest veg. cts        Zolaseski 1988
    St. Lawrence Valley   general veg. pas       Dansereau 1959
BC: Prince Rupert Forest  general veg. eas       Haeussler & others 1984
 Region, Interior Cedar-
 Hemlock Zone
w-c Alberta               forest eas             Corns & Annas 1986
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Life Form

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More info for the term: tree

Tree
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Management considerations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: litter, seed

Silviculture:  Paper birch is shade-intolerant and can regenerate under
even-aged silviculture.  Clearcutting is the most common silvicultural
system used for paper birch, but shelterwood, strip cuts, and small
patch cuts are used to provide partial shade where summer precipitation
is limiting [58].  For good seedling establishment at least 50 percent
of the cut area should be scarified [58].

Wildlife damage:  Severe deer or moose browsing in clearcuts can prevent
or delay paper birch regeneration [6,33].  Following timber harvest in
Newfoundland, paper birch regeneration averaged 13 inches (33 cm) tall
where moose densities were high but averaged nearly 50 inches (127 cm)
elsewhere [6].  Snowshoe hare and other small mammals often clip or gnaw
the bark of planted seedlings [57].

Chemical control:  Paper birch is susceptible to 2,4-D, 2,4,5,-T,
dichlorprop, or glyphosate applied as a foliar spray [10,24].
Glyphosate, hexazinone, or triclopyr applied by hypohatchet also kill
paper birch [24].

Leaf litter/conifer germination:  Paper birch leaf litter inhibits jack
pine, red pine (Pinus resinosa), and eastern white pine (P. strobus)
seed germination [51].

Insects:  The bronze birch borer is the most serious insect pest of
paper birch.  It attacks and can kill injured, overmature, or decadent
trees [12].  There are numerous defoliators of paper birch, but they
seldom cause mortality of healthy trees [57].

Diseases:  Bacteria or decay fungi enter paper birch boles through
wounds and branch stubs, and roots which come in contact with the roots
of other trees infected with root-rotting fungi [57,60].  Trees in
Alaska are very susceptible to decay, but elsewhere tend to contain
little defect [76].  Most diseases can be identified by observing
external signs [60].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Nutritional Value

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Paper birch is a poor-quality winter moose browse.  At this time of
year, twigs provide adequate amounts of protein (about 7 to 8.5%
[14,48]) but are not easily digested because of high levels of lignin
[36,48].  Moose may die in the winter if restricted entirely to a diet
of paper birch [36].

Paper birch leaves sampled in July contained 16.9 percent protein [48].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Occurrence in North America

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     AK  CO  CT  HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  ME  MA
     MI  MN  MT  NE  NH  NJ  NY  NC  ND  OH
     OR  PA  RI  SD  VT  VA  WA  WV  WI  WY
     AB  BC  LB  MB  NB  NF  NT  NS  ON  PE
     PQ  SK  YT
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Other uses and values

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Paper birch's graceful form and attractive bark make it a popular
landscape plant [57].  The sap is made into syrup, wine, beer, and
medicinal tonics.  Currently only a few small sugaring operations in
Alaska utilize paper birch [57].

Native Americans made paper birch bark into baskets, storage containers,
mats, baby carriers, moose and bird calls, torches, household utensils,
and canoes [30].  The strong and flexible wood was made into spears,
bows, arrows, snowshoes, sleds, and other items [30].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Palatability

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Paper birch is a palatable moose browse.  In Alaska moose prefer it over
aspen, balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera), and alder (Alnus spp.) but
prefer it less than willow (Salix spp.), which is the most palatable
moose browse [57].  Shaw [59] reported that white-tailed deer in the
Northeast exhibit a clear preference for birches.  Beaver generally
prefer aspen, while willow and paper birch are second choice foods [77].
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Phenology

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Paper birch male catkins are partially formed in the fall, remain
dormant in the winter, and expand to a length of about 4 inches (10 cm)
before flowering in the spring [43].  Female catkins appear in the
spring before the leaves are fully expanded.  In the southern portion of
its range flowering begins in April [24].  In Alaska flowering occurs in
May and June [66].  Seed dispersal may begin as early as August, but
most seed is dispersed from September throughout November [8].

Paper birch phenological events proceed as follows in northeastern
Minnesota [2]: 

Phenological event    Time

bud burst               April
leafing out             late April - early May
flowering begins        April
pollen shed             late April - May
seedfall begins         August
leaf color change       September
leaf fall               late September - October
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Plant Response to Fire

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Paper birch rapidly revegetates burned areas.  Sprouts, and seedlings if
seed trees are nearby, appear within the first postfire year.

Sprout production:  Young paper birch trees up to about 50 years old
sprout prolifically and vigorously after fire.  Sprouts appear a few
weeks to 2 months after spring or summer fires but not until the
following spring after late fall fires [35,50,61].  They grow rapidly
and are often 20 to 40 inches (50-100 cm) tall after one growing season
[1,35].  In Minnesota, 5-year-old postfire paper birch sprouts averaged
10 feet (3 m) in height [50].  Following prescribed spring fires at
5-year intervals in Idaho, paper birch averaged 31 to 58 basal sprouts
per plant after each fire [35]. Sprout mortality is high in the first 5
postfire years, leaving a few to several sprouts per clump [50].

Seedling establishment:  Mineral soils exposed by fire provide excellent
paper birch seedbeds, but charred or partially removed organic layers
prevent establishment.  In Alaska, germination and subsequent seedling
survival of artificially sown paper birch seed was abundant, practically
nil, and nil on severely, moderately, and lightly burned test plots,
respectively [73].

Undamaged trees within a burn or trees in nearby unburned stands are
necessary for postfire seedling establishment.  Where there are abundant
seed trees, paper birch can easily establish 10's of thousands of
seedlings per acre after fire [19,39,69].  In northern Saskatchewan,
undamaged paper birch trees released 1 and 0.4 million seeds per acre
(2.48 & 1 million/ha) in the first and second fall, respectively,
following an April wildfire [4].

Because seed dispersal occurs in the fall, seedling establishment does
not begin until the second postfire year [46].  Seedling establishment
is generally greatest from postfire years 2 to 5 [3,46].  In Labrador,
paper birch established by seed dated to within 15 years of fire, with
subsequent seedling establishment lacking [21].
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Post-fire Regeneration

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More info for the terms: caudex, root crown, seed

   survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
   off-site colonizer; seed carried by wind; postfire years 1 and 2
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Regeneration Processes

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Seed production:  Paper birch is a prolific seed producer.  Seed
production begins at about age 15, with optimum production at 40 to 70
years of age [11].  Trees produce good seed crops about every other
year.  Seed production over a 3-year period in Maine ranged from 2.4 to
9.8 million seeds/acre (5.9-24.2/ha) in a paper birch stand with 149
seed trees per acre (368/ha) [8].  In undisturbed paper birch stands in
Alaska, seed production varied between 2.2 and 294 million seeds/acre
(5.4-728 million/ha) [72].

Dispersal:  The small, double-winged seeds are dispersed primarily by
wind.  Most seeds fall 100 to 200 feet (30-61 m) from the parent tree
[43].  Seedfall at a clearcut edge was 60 percent of that within the
uncut stand, and at 328 feet (100 m) into the cut seedfall was 10
percent of that within the stand [57].  Seed may travel great distances
when blown across crusted snow [57].  Nearly all the seed (about 90 to
95 percent) is shed from September through November [51,57].

Seed quality and dormancy:  Discolored and empty seeds make up 14 to 47
percent of a crop [57].  Seed viability is highest during heavy seed
crop years and lowest during light seed crop years.  In Maine,
germination was 77 percent during a heavy seed year, but only 13 and 24
percent during 2 normal years [42].  Seeds dispersed early have lower
germination rates than those dispersed later [8].  A small percentage
of the seeds can remain viable on the forest floor for several years
[51].

Germination and seedling establishment:  Germination normally takes
place in the spring following dispersal.  Germination is generally best
on disturbed mineral or mixed mineral-organic soil seedbeds [24,57].
The small seeds are sensitive to soil moisture and temperature.  Thus
shade usually favors germination and initial establishment by preventing
seedbeds from drying out and reaching excessively high temperatures
[43].  South or southwest aspects, excessively drained soils,
insufficient rainfall, competing vegetation, and unshaded and
undisturbed seedbeds deter establishment [51].  Seedlings will not grow
on soils with a pH less than 5.0 [51].  Although germination and early
survival are often best on mineral soils, seedling growth is best on
humus seedbeds in moderate or full sunlight [42].  First year seedlings
are about 2 to 5 inches (5-12 cm) tall [51].

Vegetative reproduction:  Paper birch sprouts following cutting or fire.
Sprouts typically arise from the stump base or root collar [74].
Prolific sprouting is common in young trees, with some individuals
producing up to 100 sprouts [74].  Sprout growth is rapid, sometimes up
to 24 inches (60 cm) in the first growing season [24].  Sprouting vigor
decreases with age.  Forty to fifty percent of 100- to 125-year-old
trees produced stump sprouts within 1 year after cutting, while 80 to 90
percent of 40- to 50-year-old trees produced sprouts [74].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    2  Cascade Mountains
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
   11  Southern Rocky Mountains
   14  Great Plains
   15  Black Hills Uplift
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Betula papyrifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Successional Status

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More info for the terms: seed, shrubs, wildfire

Paper birch is a short-lived, shade-intolerant, pioneer species.  It
rapidly colonizes open disturbed sites created by wildfire, windthrow,
or avalanche but lasts only one generation before it is replaced by
shade-tolerant conifers or northern hardwoods.  Paper birch seeds-in
aggressively after wildfire, often forming large, essentially pure
stands [19,21,39].  Depending on the recovery of other species following
fire, paper birch may also occur in mixed postfire stands with spruces,
aspen, and other hardwoods [15,27,39].

Seral paper birch stands resulting from wildfire in Alaska commonly have
3,000 to 6,000 trees per acre (7,470-14,820/ha) 20 years after
establishment [39].  By 60 to 90 years, stands have thinned to 500 to
800 trees per acre (1,235-1,976/ha) [19,39].  Seedbeds under these paper
birch stand are unfavorable for germination of birch seed, but spruce
seedlings are common.  By 120 to 150 years after fire, black or white
spruce dominate [39,66].

In southeastern Labrador, paper birch seedling establishment begins
promptly after fire and is restricted to the first 15 postfire years.
At 40 to 50 years after fire conifer seedlings appear in the paper birch
understory.  At 75 to 100 years, paper birch stands begin to deteriorate
and are eventually replaced by conifers unless another fire initiates
paper birch establishment [21].

In boreal mixed woods, paper birch begin dying by 75 years after fire.
At this time jack pine, black spruce, and white spruce begin to dominate
or codominate.  By 125 years most paper birch are dead [17].

In contrast to other boreal regions, paper birch persists in forests for
more than 200 years in eastern Quebec.  This is probably due to spruce
budworm outbreaks which cause white spruce to decline after about 200
years [5].

In the East, paper birch is commonly replaced by northern hardwoods on
well-drained mineral soils, and by spruces and balsam fir on shallow or
poorly drained soils [58].  In Minnesota, paper birch is often replaced
by communities dominated by shrubs, particularly beaked hazel [58]. 
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Synonyms

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Betula cordifolia Regel
Betula neoalaskana var. kenaica (W. H. Evans) Boivin
Betula papyrifera var. cummutata (Regel) Fern.
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Taxonomy

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The currently accepted scientific name of paper birch is Betula
papyrifera Marsh. [38]. It is wide ranging and exhibits considerable
ecotypic variation. Three intergrading geographical varieties are
recognized [38,57]:

Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera - typical paper birch
Betula papyrifera var. cordifolia (Regel) Fern. - mountain paper birch
Betula papyrifera var. kenaica (W. H. Evans) Henry - Kenai birch

Birch (Betula spp.) is a genetically plastic genus, often with
morphological variation continuous between species [51]. Hybridization
is common. Paper birch naturally hybridizes with almost every native
species in the genus. Named hybrids include [38,51,57]:

B. papyrifera x B. nana = B. X hornei Butler
B. papyrifera x B. populifolia = B. X caerulea Blanchard
B. papyrifera x B. occidentalis = B. X utahensis (Britt.) Dugle (Syn.=
B. X piperi Britton)
B. papyrifera x B. pumila var. glandulifera = B. X sandbergii Britt.

Crosses with yellow birch (B. alleghaniensis), sweet birch (B. lenta),
and river birch (B. nigra) have not been named.
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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

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Paper birch is useful for long-term revegetation and soil stabilization
of severely disturbed sites.  It is used to reclaim coal, lignite, rock
phosphate, slate, gold, oil-shale, bauxite, and other mine spoils
[52,70].  Best results are obtained by planting 2-year-old or older
bare-root or containerized stock [52].  It is occasionally transplanted
as wildlings.  Methods for collecting, extracting, cleaning, storing,
and sowing paper birch seed to produce nursery grown seedlings are
available [11,26,70].  Paper birch may also be propagated by grafting,
air layering, rooting of cuttings, or tissue-culture techniques [57].
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Wood Products Value

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Paper birch wood is used commercially for veneer, plywood, and pulpwood.
It is easily worked and takes finishes and stains readily.  Furniture,
cabinets, and numerous specialty items are made from paper birch lumber.
Tree chips are used for pulp and paper manufacture, reconstituted uses,
and fuel.  It is commonly used as fireplace and wood stove fuel [57,66].
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Betula kenaica

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Betula kenaica, or Kenai birch, is a species of birch that can be found in Alaska and northwestern North America at 300 m (980 ft) above sea level.[1]

Description

It grows up to 12 m (39 ft) tall, with reddish-brown bark that may become pink or grayish-white. The leaf blades are ovate and grow in 2-6 pairs which are 4–5 cm (1.6–2.0 in) (sometimes up to 7.5 cm (3.0 in)) long and 2.5–4.5 cm (0.98–1.77 in) wide. The leaf margins are cuneated and serrated with rounded base and acute apex. The flowers bloom in late spring while fruits fall in autumn.[2]

Uses

The buds and twigs of the plant are used as a stew flavor while its inner bark can be eaten either raw or cooked and can be used as soup thickener. The sap is used to make honey.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b "Betula kenaica". PFAF. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  2. ^ "Betula kenaica". 3. Flora of North America. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
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Betula kenaica: Brief Summary

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Betula kenaica, or Kenai birch, is a species of birch that can be found in Alaska and northwestern North America at 300 m (980 ft) above sea level.

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Betula papyrifera

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Betula papyrifera (paper birch,[4] also known as (American) white birch[4] and canoe birch[4]) is a short-lived species of birch native to northern North America. Paper birch is named for the tree's thin white bark, which often peels in paper like layers from the trunk. Paper birch is often one of the first species to colonize a burned area within the northern latitudes, and is an important species for moose browsing. The wood is often used for pulpwood and firewood.

Description

 src=
Leaves are doubly serrate with sharp teeth

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree typically reaching 20 m (66 feet) tall,[3] and exceptionally to 40 m (130 feet) with a trunk up to 75 cm (30 inches) in diameter.[5] Within forests, it often grows with a single trunk but when grown as a landscape tree it may develop multiple trunks or branch close to the ground.[6]

Paper birch is a typically short-lived species. It handles heat and humidity poorly and may live only 30 years in zones six and up, while trees in colder-climate regions can grow for more than 100 years.[5] B. papyrifera will grow in many soil types, from steep rocky outcrops to flat muskegs of the boreal forest. Best growth occurs in deeper, well drained to dry soils, depending on the location.[7]

  • In older trees, the bark is white, commonly brightly so, flaking in fine horizontal strips to reveal a pinkish or salmon-colored inner bark.[6] It often has small black marks and scars. In individuals younger than five years, the bark appears a brown red color[3] with white lenticels, making the tree much harder to distinguish from other birches. The bark is highly weather-resistant. It has a high oil content and this gives it its waterproof and weather-resistant characteristics.[3] Often, the wood of a downed paper birch will rot away, leaving the hollow bark intact.[8]
  • The leaves are dark green and smooth on the upper surface; the lower surface is often pubescent on the veins. They are alternately arranged on the stem, oval to triangular in shape, 5–10 cm (2–4 inches) long and about 23 as wide. The leaf is rounded at the base and tapering to an acutely pointed tip. The leaves have a doubly serrated margin with relatively sharp teeth.[3] Each leaf has a petiole about 2.5 cm (0.98 inches) long that connects it to the stems.
  • The fall color is a bright yellow color that contributes to the bright colors within the northern deciduous forest.
  • The leaf buds are conical and small and green-colored with brown edges.
  • The stems are a reddish-brown color and may be somewhat hairy when young.[6]
  • The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins; the female flowers are greenish and 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) long growing from the tips of twigs. The male (staminate) flowers are 5–10 cm (2–4 inches) long and a brownish color. The tree flowers from mid-April to June depending on location. Paper birch is monoecious, meaning that one plant has both male and female flowers.[9]
  • The fruit matures in the fall. The mature fruit is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts. They drop between September and spring. At 15 years of age, the tree will start producing seeds but will be in peak seed production between 40 and 70 years.[7] The seed production is irregular, with a heavy seed crop produced typically every other year and with at least some seeds being produced every year.[7] In average seed years, 2,500,000 seeds per hectare (1,000,000 per acre) are produced, but in bumper years 86,000,000 per hectare (35,000,000 per acre) may be produced. The seeds are light and blow in the wind to new areas; they also may blow along the surface of snow.
  • The roots are generally shallow and occupy the upper 60 cm (24 inches) of the soil and do not form taproots. High winds are more likely to break the trunk than to uproot the tree.[7]

Genetics and taxonomy

B. papyrifera hybridizes with other species within the genus Betula.

Several varieties are recognized:[7]

  • B. p. var papyrifera the typical paper birch
  • B. p. var cordifolia the eastern paper birch (now a separate species); see Betula cordifolia
  • B. p. var kenaica Alaskan paper birch (also treated as a separate species by some authors); see Betula kenaica
  • B. p. var subcordata Northwestern paper birch
  • B. p. var. neoalaskana Alaska paper birch (although this is often treated as a separate species); see Betula neoalaskana

Distribution

Betula papyrifera is mostly confined to Canada and the far northern United States. It is found in interior (var. humilus) and south-central (var. kenaica) Alaska and in all provinces and territories of Canada, except Nunavut, as well as the far northern continental United States. Isolated patches are found as far south as the Hudson Valley of New York and Pennsylvania, as well as Washington. High elevation stands are also in mountains to North Carolina, New Mexico, and Colorado. The most southerly stand in the Western United States is located in Long Canyon in the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. This is an isolated Pleistocene relict that most likely reflects the southern reach of boreal vegetation into the area during the last Ice Age.[10]

Ecology

In Alaska, paper birch often naturally grows in pure stands by itself or with black or white spruce. In the eastern and central regions of its range, it is often associated with red spruce and balsam fir.[7] It may also be associated with big-toothed aspen, yellow birch, Betula populifolia, and maples.

Shrubs often associated with paper birch in the eastern part of its range include beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), common bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), dwarf bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), raspberries and blackberries (Rubus spp.), elderberry (Sambucus spp.), and hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium).

Successional relationships

 src=
Prescribed fire in a black spruce-paper birch-quaking aspen community in boreal Alaska

Betula papyrifera is a pioneer species, meaning it is often one of the first trees to grow in an area after other trees are removed by some sort of disturbance. Typical disturbances colonized by paper birch are wildfire, avalanche, or windthrow areas where the wind has blown down all trees. When it grows in these pioneer, or early successional, woodlands, it often forms stands of trees where it is the only species.[5]

Paper birch is considered well adapted to fires because it recovers quickly by means of reseeding the area or regrowth from the burned tree. The lightweight seeds are easily carried by the wind to burned areas, where they quickly germinate and grow into new trees. Paper birch is adapted to ecosystems where fires occur every 50 to 150 years[5] For example, it is frequently an early invader after fire in black spruce boreal forests.[11] As paper birch is a pioneer species, finding it within mature or climax forests is rare because it will be overcome by trees that are more shade-tolerant as secondary succession progresses.

For example, in Alaskan boreal forests, a paper birch stand 20 years after a fire may have 3,000–6,000 trees per acre (7,400–14,800/ha), but after 60 to 90 years, the number of trees will decrease to 500–800 trees per acre (1,200–2,000/ha) as spruce replaces the birch.[5] After approximately 75 years, the birch will start dying and by 125 years, most paper birch will have disappeared unless another fire burns the area.

Paper birch trees themselves have varied reactions to wildfire. A group, or stand, of paper birch is not particularly flammable. The canopy often has a high moisture content and the understory is often lush green.[5] As such, conifer crown fires often stop once they reach a stand of paper birch or become slower-moving ground fires. Since these stands are fire-resistant, they may become seed trees to reseed the area around them that was burned. However, in dry periods, paper birch is flammable and will burn rapidly.[5] As the bark is flammable, it often will burn and may girdle the tree.

Wildlife

Birch bark is a winter staple food for moose. The nutritional quality is poor because of the large quantities of lignin, which make digestion difficult, but is important to wintering moose because of its sheer abundance.[5] Moose prefer paper birch over aspen, alder, and balsam poplar, but they prefer willow (Salix spp.) over birch and the other species listed. Although moose consume large amounts of paper birch in the winter, if they were to eat only paper birch, they may starve.[5]

Although white-tailed deer consider birch a "secondary-choice food," it is an important dietary component. In Minnesota, white-tailed deer eat considerable amounts of paper birch leaves in the fall. Snowshoe hares browse paper birch seedlings,[5] and grouse eat the buds. Porcupines and beavers feed on the inner bark.[12] The seeds of paper birch are an important part of the diet of many birds and small mammals, including chickadees, redpolls, voles, and ruffed grouse. Yellow bellied sapsuckers drill holes in the bark of paper birch to get at the sap; this is one of their favorite trees for feeding on.[5]

Conservation

The species is considered vulnerable in Indiana, imperiled in Illinois, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming, and critically imperiled in Colorado and Tennessee.

Uses

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White birch at Acadia National Park in Maine

Betula papyrifera has a moderately heavy white wood. It makes excellent high-yielding firewood if seasoned properly. The dried wood has a density of 37.4 lb/cu ft (0.599 g/cm3) and an energy density 20,300,000 BTU/cord (5,900,000 kJ/m3).[13] Although paper birch does not have a very high overall economic value, it is used in furniture, flooring, popsicle sticks,[14] pulpwood (for paper), plywood, and oriented strand board.[5] The wood can also be made into spears, bows, arrows, snowshoes, sleds, and other items.[5] When used as pulp for paper, the stems and other nontrunk wood are lower in quantity and quality of fibers, and consequently the fibers have less mechanical strength; nonetheless, this wood is still suitable for use in paper.

The sap is boiled down to produce birch syrup. The raw sap contains 0.9% carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose)[7] as compared to 2 percent to 3 percent within sugar maple sap. The sap flows later in the season than maples. Currently, only a few small-scale operations in Alaska and Yukon produce birch syrup from this species.[7]

Bark

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Peeling bark

Its bark is an excellent fire starter; it ignites at high temperatures even when wet. The bark has an energy density of 5,740 cal/g (24,000 J/g) and 3,209 cal/cm3 (220,000 J/cu in), the highest per unit weight of 24 species tested.[7]

Panels of bark can be fitted or sewn together to make cartons and boxes. (A birchbark box is called a wiigwaasi-makak in the Anishinaabe language.) The bark is also used to create a durable waterproof layer in the construction of sod-roofed houses.[8] Many indigenous groups (i.e., Wabanaki peoples) use birchbark for making various items, such as canoes, containers, and wigwams. It is also used as a backing for porcupine quillwork and moosehair embroidery. Thin sheets can be employed as a medium for the art of birchbark biting.

Plantings

Paper birch is planted to reclaim old mines and other disturbed sites, often bare-root or small saplings are planted when this is the goal.[5] Since paper birch is an adaptable pioneer species, it is a prime candidate for reforesting drastically disturbed areas.

When used in landscape planting, it should not be planted near black walnut, as the chemical juglone, exuded from the roots of black walnut, is very toxic to paper birch.

Paper birch is frequently planted as an ornamental because of its graceful form and attractive bark. The bark changes to the white color at about 3 years of growth.[6] Paper birch grows best in USDA zones 2–6,[6] due to its intolerance of high temperatures. Betula nigra, or river birch, is recommended for warm-climate areas warmer than zone 6, where paper birch is rarely successful.[15] B. papyrifera is more resistant to the bronze birch borer than Betula pendula, which is similarly planted as a landscape tree.

Pests

Birch skeletonizer is a small larva that feeds on the leaves and causes browning.[15]

Birch leafminer is a common pest that feeds from the inside of the leaf and causes the leaf to turn brown. The first generation appears in May but there will be several generations per year. Severe infestations may stress the tree and make it more vulnerable to the bronze birch borer.[15]

When a tree is stressed, bronze birch borers may kill the tree. The insect bores into the sapwood, beginning at the top of the tree and causing death of the tree crown.[15] The insect has a D-shaped emergence hole where it chews out of the tree. Healthy trees are resistant to the borer, but when grown in sub-ideal conditions, the defense mechanisms of the tree may not function properly. Chemical controls exist.

In culture

It is the provincial tree of Saskatchewan and the state tree of New Hampshire.[16][17]

People sometimes vandalize the bark of this tree by carving into it with a knife or by peeling off layers of the bark. Both forms of vandalism can cause unsightly scars on the tree.

References

  1. ^ L. 2014. Betula papyrifera. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T194502A2342659. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T194502A2342659.en. Downloaded on 05 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Betula papyrifera". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2012-10-10 – via The Plant List.
  3. ^ a b c d e Furlow, John J. (1997). "Betula papyrifera". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 3. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ a b c "Betula papyrifera". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Uchytil, Ronald J. (1991). "Betula papyrifera". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Retrieved 5 July 2016 – via https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/.
  6. ^ a b c d e Dirr, Michael A (1990). Manual of woody landscape plants (4. ed., rev. ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87563-344-7.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Burns, Russell M; Honkala, Barbara H. (1990). Sylvics of North America: Hardwoods. Washington: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service u.a. ISBN 0-16-029260-3. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  8. ^ a b Ewing, Susan (April 1, 1996). The Great Alaska Nature Factbook. Portland, Oregon: Alaska Northwest Books. ISBN 978-0-88240-454-7.
  9. ^ Rhoads, Ann; Block, Timothy (5 September 2007). The Plants of Pennsylvania (2 ed.). Philadelphia Pa: University of Pennsylvania press. ISBN 978-0-8122-4003-0.
  10. ^ Cooper, David J. (Spring 1984). "Ecological Survey of the City of Boulder, Colorado Mountain Parks" (PDF). City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department: 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2011-09-16. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008). "Black Spruce (Picea mariana)". GlobalTwitcher. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  12. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross (1953). A Natural History of Western Trees. New York: Bonanza Books. p. 385.
  13. ^ "Wood – Combustion Heat Values". www.engineeringtoolbox.com. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  14. ^ Bellis, Mary. "Popsicle – The History of the Popsicle". About.com. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  15. ^ a b c d "Betula papyrifera - Paper Birch" (PDF). Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Saskatchewan's Provincial Tree". Archived from the original on 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  17. ^ "Fast New Hampshire Facts". NH.gov. Retrieved August 28, 2012.

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Betula papyrifera: Brief Summary

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Betula papyrifera (paper birch, also known as (American) white birch and canoe birch) is a short-lived species of birch native to northern North America. Paper birch is named for the tree's thin white bark, which often peels in paper like layers from the trunk. Paper birch is often one of the first species to colonize a burned area within the northern latitudes, and is an important species for moose browsing. The wood is often used for pulpwood and firewood.

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