Different people write for different reasons. In my case, I write to remember how and why I did research with colleagues; and to share the results, of course. After working for a while in a topic, it is easy to forget how the whole project started, which is why I will write a few notes on early selection for wood properties. This is part 1.

Fifteen years ago, Prof Walker and I were chatting about reducing rotation age for radiata pine, which involved “fixing” corewood quality. Corewood—the first 10 rings or so in a tree—has high microfibril angle that leads to low stiffness and poor dimensional stability. But how early could we assess it?

Trees are large, heterogeneous and crazy expensive to measure. Could we instead measure small trees or, let’s be heroic, seedlings? One problem is that small trees generate random arcs of reaction wood (compression in softwoods, tension in hardwoods), creating a lot of “noise” in the assessments. Can we separate these types of wood to reduce or eliminate the noise? We set up a glasshouse experiment where we wanted to assess wood properties differences at 1 year of age. TO BE CONTINUED

Compression wood in leaning 8-month-old radiata pine.
Compression wood in leaning 8-month-old radiata pine (photo: Brian Butterfield).

Read more details here https://rdcu.be/donFJ

Luis A. Apiolaza, Brian Butterfield, Shakti S. Chauhan & John C. F. Walker. 2011. Characterization of mechanically perturbed young stems: can it be used for wood quality screening? Annals of Forest Science 68: 407–414.