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Wood and Fiber Quality of Plantation-Grown Conifers: A Summary of Research with an Emphasis on Loblolly and Radiata Pine

Schimleck, Laurence, Antony, Finto, Dahlen, Joseph, Moore, John
Forests 2018 v.9 no.6
Pinus radiata, Pinus taeda, conifers, fiber quality, growth rings, models, plantations, silvicultural practices, trees, wood, wood properties, wood quality
With conifer plantations having an increasingly important role in meeting the fiber needs of society, an understanding of the effect of silvicultural practices on wood quality is critical. The perception of wood quality varies, making it hard to define in a single statement; however, possibly the most succinct definition is “a measure of the aptness of wood for a given use”. In general, properties that have a positive influence on a specific product assist in defining changes in wood quality. Since wood properties exhibit large variability within annual rings, within trees, and among trees in a stand, and have both genetic and environmental components (i.e., vary with different physiographical regions), it is imperative to have an understanding of wood properties at multiple levels. In this paper, we review the typical variation patterns in wood properties of conifers, with specific emphasis on loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), and radiata pine (Pinus radiata D.Don), two of the most common conifer plantation species globally. We also describe the impact of conventional silvicultural treatments on wood quality. Modeling efforts to predict variation in wood properties within trees, and in response to silvicultural treatments are also summarized.