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A method for three-dimensional stem analysis and its application in a study on the occurrence of resin pockets in Pinus patula

Lerm, Frederik J., Blumentritt, Melanie, Brink, Willem H., Wessels, C. Brand
European journal of forest research 2017 v.136 no.3 pp. 411-420
Pinus patula, forests, models, resin pockets, softwood, trees, wind, wood processing, South Africa
Information on the external shape, internal properties and defects of a tree is important for the forest and wood-processing industries. Resin pockets are internal defects, associated with some softwood species, and are especially undesirable in furniture, joinery and veneer products. In this study, we propose a new lower-cost method for measuring tree shape and macroscopic internal characteristics. The objectives of this study were to: (1) design, construct and test a mobile system that can be used in field to obtain a three-dimensional model of a log or tree stem indicating selected macroscopic internal characteristics and (2) to use the system to investigate the occurrence and causes of resin pockets in Pinus patula from the Mpumalanga escarpment in South Africa. In order to establish the cause of resin pocket formation in Pinus patula, four 3-m logs from 24 trees from three compartments were dissected and digitally reconstructed into three-dimensional models. The results from the study suggest that the formation of Type 1 resin pockets in Pinus patula was due to bending stresses caused by wind sway. It was not possible to establish with certainty the cause of Type 2 resin pocket formation. However, there was evidence that damage events, and specifically thinning damage, have been the cause of some of the Type 2 resin pockets observed.