Wood density within Norway spruce stems
We studied the variation in average wood density of annual rings, earlywood density, and latewood density in addition to ring width and latewood percentage within Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) stems from the pith to the bark, and from the stem base towards the stem apex. Moreover, the variation in wood density within annual rings was studied at the different heights and radial positions in the stem. The material consisted of 85 trees from central and south-eastern Finland. Variation between the annual rings accounted for 11–27% of the total variation in wood density. Only small differences (3–6%) in wood density were found between different heights in the stem. The largest (49–80%) variation in wood density was found within the annual rings. The difference in wood density between earlywood and latewood was smaller in the rings near the pith than in the outer rings. The increasing wood density from the pith outwards was related to increasing latewood density and latewood percentage, whereas the earlywood density increased only slightly from the pith outwards. In a given cambial age (i.e., given rings from the pith), the average wood density of annual rings increased with increasing stem height. In contrast, in the rings formed in the same calendar years (i.e., given rings from the bark), the average wood density of annual rings decreased with increasing stem height. The results of this study verify our knowledge of wood density variation and can further contribute to creating models to predict wood density.
Received 19 January 2007 Accepted 4 February 2008 Published 31 December 2008