Highlights: Initial stand densities have a large impact on the proportion of mature wood within trees throughout most of their life cycle; The difference between regimes in volume of long fibres in crop trees could be substantial; Long-term silvicultural strategies implemented at juvenile stand ages can be important tools in order to produce wood raw material suited for specific end-uses.
Trees from 48 to 78 years old, exposed to three different long-term silvicultural regimes, were examined for transition ages between juvenile (JW), transition (TW) and mature wood (MW), total wood volume and proportions of the same wood types, as defined by fibre length. Twenty one sample trees were collected at sites with similar growing conditions within the same geographical area. Stem discs and fibre samples from breast height (BRH), 20% of tree height, green crown height and 70% of tree height were analysed. Trees growing in an environment with few neighboring trees (Sparse regime) started to produce MW, on average, five years later at BRH and six to nine years later at 20% of total tree height than trees in stands with high stem numbers (Dense regime) and trees growing in stands where the stem number had been heavily reduced after an initial high stand density (Dense/Sparse regime). For all regimes, the greatest mean fibre length was found below the green crown and high initial stem numbers were found to positively influence fibre length. The proportion of MW in the whole stem was 34% at Sparse regime sites, 57–69% at Dense/Sparse sites and 63–64% in sites where there was a Dense regime. The proportion of MW was significantly lower for trees from the Sparse regime on each stem section compared. In conclusion, the results suggest that the initial condition a tree faces affects the stem wood properties and quality output at the end of the rotation period.