Current issue: 53(4)
Increased growth rates have reduced rotation lengths, increasing the proportion of juvenile wood relative to mature wood, which may negatively affect mechanical performance of sawn timber. However, there is limited information available on the potential impact of breeding for vigour on juvenile wood in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carrière). In this study, the relationship between vigour (based on total height) and wood properties was investigated in six-year-old Sitka spruce clones grown in two replicated field trials in Ireland. Six clones were evaluated, two clones from each of three vigour (high, intermediate and low) classes. Discs were cut from the base of one ramet per replication for each clone to assess wood quality attributes. Radial tracheid width was significantly and positively correlated with ring width and height, and was negatively correlated with density. The wood of the most vigorous clone had significantly larger ring width with thinner cell walls and wider tracheids than all clones in the two other vigour classes, resulting in lower mean wood density. Latewood properties for all wood attributes measured differed significantly between the two sites. Wood property differences resulted primarily from variation in the proportions of early- and latewood in each annual ring. Additionally, the width of early- and latewood bands in each ring was found to be a more important determinant of juvenile wood quality than the characteristics of the cells within each band. Wood properties differed greatly between clones, suggesting that there is potential to improve juvenile wood properties through selective breeding.
Independent of genotype, increased spacing results in increased branch diameter of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), but on different levels for different genotypes. Frequency of defects like spike knots and crooked stems are under stronger genetic than silvicultural control. Simultaneous improvement of rate of growth and timber properties is feasible. Deteriorating of both factors can happen rapidly at a negative selection. A defect like stem cracking of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) only manifests itself under drought stress when certain genetic and environmental prerequisites are present, like high fertility and wide spacing. This emphasize the fact that new silvicultural methods may reveal genetic weaknesses.
The paper presents preliminary results on the relationships of the longitudinal modulus of elasticity (E) in bending, based on ISO Standard 3349 tests on small, clear specimens, and some basic characteristics of Finnish Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) wood. A manual image analysis method – quantitative stereological counting – was introduced and applied for the investigations of wood structure.
The main results were consistent with those from the prior research. The range of E was 9.7 to 19.1 GPa. Increase in especially fibre density index (R2 = 0.95), weight density and specific gravity (R2 = 0.90), Runkel’s ratio, coefficient of cell rigidity and number of growth rings per cross-sectional unit area, but also in latewood percentage (R2 = 0.58) resulted in an increase in E. Increase in growth ring width, particularly in the width of the late wood section within a ring (R2 = 0.63 to 0.90) had a reverse effect. Cell wall thickness did not show any clear effect. Except for tracheid diameter, the relationships were stronger for the variables determined in the tangential than in the radial wood direction.
Quantitative stereological counting has been used to some degree in the Finnish wood research. The procedure is technically feasible and easy to use. A large sample of counting areas is frequently needed to obtain accurate mean results for the size and distribution of the features. Because the actual analysis points are located at a fixed distance from each other, the method is not in principle well suited for wood with a regular and simple structure, as Scots pine. However, the good correlations between E and some characteristics obtained with stereological counting did not support this misgiving.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
Properties of fibres in pulpwood, especially length, width and the thickness of walls in tracheids, are essential for strength properties of pulp and paper. Length and width of tracheids increase from pith to surface in radial direction. Young and small-sized stems have also smaller fibres. Small-sized Pinus sylvestris L. test trees had tracheids that were shorter both in stems and knot wood than those in normal sized trees. However, cell walls in test trees were as thick as in normal sized trees. It seems that especially the L/T -ratio (length/thickness) in small stems is worse than in normal sized pulp wood.
The PDF includes an abstract in English.
The basic density of the wood of the rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia L.) is almost the same along the stem but that of the bark is increasing along the stem. The moisture content of the wood and of the bark is increasing along the stem. Its strength in the bending and in the compression is high. The volume shrinkage is high.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish
The aim of this literature review was to compare Finnish Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) sawn goods to Central European spruce sawn goods which contain fir in some amount. However, it was found that no statistically valid comparisons have been made. Therefore, conclusions have been based mainly on the relationship between various properties and growth rate. According to this analysis, most properties of Finnish spruce are better, although small in practice.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) boards sawn from outer layers of logs were sampled from a sawmill in Northern Finland and another in Southern Finland. Test pieces 20 mm x 20 mm x 20 mm were selected according to maximum variation in growth ring width. Volumetric and longitudinal shrinkage from a soaked to a dry condition were measured. It was found that wood density correlated positively with the volumetric shrinkage but negatively with the longitudinal shrinkage. Dry density was a better predictor than basic density. With constant density and an increase in growth ring width, there was increased shrinkage, especially in samples from Northern Finland. Besides this, when density was kept constant, the shrinkage was higher in the spruce wood from Southern Finland than from Northern Finland.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Variation in tracheid morphology were examined for the bole wood of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon) grown in Southern and Central Finland. Tracheid lengths were examined in a fast-grown and in slow-grown trees from three stands. Tracheid length increased with increasing height to 4–8 metres and decreased after that, and increased also with increasing age from the pith. The variation between stems was high. The shortest tracheids were about 1.11 mm near the piths and the longest about 4.10 mm near the bark.
Tracheid diameter and cell wall thickness were measured for the total number of 16 stems from Southern and Central Finland. Tracheid diameter increased with increasing distance from pith and the largest tracheids were at a height of 4–8 metres. Cell wall thickness varied independently of height in the stem. Summerwood cell wall thickness was twice that of springwood. There was a difference of 0.6 μm in springwood and 1.0 μm in summerwood double cell wall thickness between the two stands. Cell wall percentage was 29±4.7 in springwood and 69±7.3 in summerwood.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
Downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) trees growing on a drained peatland were cut during dormancy. The properties of the one-year old shoots produced by the stumps were measured in the autumn after one growing season. The one-year old willow shoots (a mixture of Salix phylicifolia L., S. pentandra L. and S. caprea L.) were collected from an abandoned field.
The basic density of unbarked shoots was 443 kg/m3 for birch and 346 kg/m3 for willow. The basic density of the bark was much higher than that of the wood. The effect of shoot length on the properties was small with the exception of cellular proportions. The fibre percentage increased and vessel percentage decreased with increasing shoot length.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
In the first part of the study, the selected wood and fiber properties were investigated in terms of their occurrence and variation in wood, as well as their relevance for thermomechanical pulping process and related end-products. It was concluded that the most important factors were the fiber dimensions, juvenile wood content, and in some cases, the content of heartwood being associated with extremely dry wood with low permeability in spruce. The following pulpwood assortments of which pulping potential was assumed to vary were formed: wood from regeneration cuttings, first-thinnings wood, and sawmill chips.
In the experimental part of the study, the average wood and fibre characteristics and their variation were determined for the raw material groups. Subsequently, each assortment – equalling about 1,500 m3 roundwood – was pulped separately for 24 h period. The properties of obtained newsgrade thermomechanical pulps were then determined.
Thermomechanical pulping (TMP) from sawmill chips had the highest proportion of long fibres, smallest proportion of fines, and had generally the coarsest and longest fibers. TMP from first-thinned wood was the opposite, whereas that from regeneration cuttings fell in between these two. High proportion of dry heartwood in wood originating from regeneration cuttings produced a slightly elevated shives content. However, no differences were found in pulp specific energy consumption. The obtained pulp tear index was clearly the best in TMP made from sawmill chips and poorest in pulp from first-thinned wood, which had generally inferior strength properties. No big differences in any of the strength properties were found between pulp from sawmill residual wood and regeneration cuttings. Pulp optical properties were superior in TMP from first-thinnings. No noticeable differences were found in sheet density, bulk, air permeance or roughness between the three pulps.
The most important wood quality factors were the fibre length, fibre cross-sectional dimensions and percentage juvenile wood. Differences found in the quality of TMP assortments suggest that they could be segregated and pulped separately to obtain specific product characteristics and to minimize unnecessary variation in the raw material and pulp quality.