Current issue: 55(4)
Under compilation: 55(5)
The objective of this study was to investigate basic density and its within-stem variation by studying 84 European aspen stems from 28 forest stands in Latvia. The studied forest stands covered all age classes from young stands to matured forests in representative growth conditions of European aspen. The densities of 2722 wood and 1022 bark specimens were measured from the sampled trees. Only the knot-free wood specimens without obvious wood defects were chosen for analyses. A map of basic density summarizing its radial and axial variations was constructed to show species-specific, within-stem variability and the relationships between density and tree and stand variables were examined. Stem wood and bark of the European aspen show different patterns of basic density variation along the tree stem. Wood density increases from pith to bark up to certain dimensions and shows a slight decrease afterwards. The weighted basic density of bark (446 ± 39.6 kg m–3) was higher than stem wood density (393 ± 30.4 kg m–3). Our results suggest that wood and bark density measurements obtained at breast height can be used for reliable estimation of the densities of whole-tree stem components, while tree parameters such as diameter at breast height (DBH), tree height and social status or stand parameters, including number of trees, basal area and age, are weak predictors in this context.