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Characterization of Douglas-fir grown in Portugal: heartwood, sapwood, bark, ring width and taper

Cardoso, Sofia, Pereira, Helena
European journal of forest research 2017 v.136 no.4 pp. 597-607
Pseudotsuga menziesii, bark, cambium, conifers, heartwood, lumber, sapwood, stemwood, trees, North America, Portugal
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is one of the best timber conifers providing long sawnwood components. Original from North America, it has been planted in Europe on approximately 550 thousand ha. Twenty Douglas-fir trees growing in two sites in Portugal were studied regarding ring analysis, heartwood, sapwood and bark development, and taper. The radial growth rate was 7.1 and 6.6 mm year⁻¹ at stem base for 45- and 50-year-old trees, respectively, in the two sites. Initial growth rate was slower, increasing until about 20 years and decreasing afterwards. Heartwood proportion represented on average 49% of the cross section in the lower part of the stem and decreased upwards. Heartwood formation was estimated to start at a cambial age of 8–9 years and increasing by 0.7–0.9 rings year⁻¹. Sapwood width was on average 75 mm at stem base, decreasing upwards. Bark was 26–27 mm thick at stem base, where it represented 15% of the cross-sectional area and decreased to 3–5 mm at the top. Stemwood and heartwood tapers were on average 15 mm m⁻¹ in the lower stem part and 21 and 18 mm m⁻¹, respectively, in the upper part. Douglas-fir showed a good potential for the mountain areas of Portugal, and under the silvicultural conditions of both stands the trees presented ring homogeneity, small conicity and low taper suitable for long wood components.