Effect of initial stand spacing and breed on dynamic modulus of elasticity of Pinus radiata
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Forestry Science
Wood stiffness or modulus of elasticity (MOE) is one of the most important wood properties for solid timber applications, and as such, the efficacy of wood use, especially for structural timber is strongly related to MOE. MOE in Pinus radiata is highly variable and poorly understood. In this study, the effect of initial stand spacing and breed on outerwood MOE and the vertical distribution of MOE of Pinus radiata was assessed. Understanding positive or negative influences of growth caused by initial stand spacing and genetic material on MOE is appealing because it could enable us to better comprehend how forest growers could adapt silvicultural operations to the demands of wood processing. Physical characteristics of different breeds and propagation methods of Pinus radiata were assessed at a variety of initial stand spacings. Stem diameter, crown height, stem slenderness and branch size were all heavily influenced by stand spacing. Breed had a marginally significant influence on diameter and stem slenderness. Internode length was not affected by stand spacing, but showed sizeable differences, especially between the long internode 870 breed and the remaining growth and form (GF) breeds. Outerwood MOE was significantly (P<0.0001) influenced by stand spacing and breed, but not their interaction (P>0.05). MOE scaled positively with stand spacing. MOE increased by 39% from 5.4 GPa at 209 stems ha-1 to 7.5 GPa at 2551 stems ha-1. The majority of this increase (33%) occurred between 209 and 835 stems ha-1. Physiologically aged cuttings of greater maturation status exhibited greater MOE, with the three-year-old cuttings being stiffer than the one-year-old cuttings, seedlings from the 870, 268 and 850 series, by 15, 17, 22 and 27%, respectively. Stem slenderness exhibited the strongest significant (P<0.0001) relationship with MOE (r2=0.49), followed by green crown height (r2=0.46) and diameter (r2=0.44). Stem slenderness and green crown height had a direct influence on MOE that explained 53% of the variance in MOE. MOE was also significantly (P<0.0001) influenced by spacing and breed when using the resonance technique to assess whole stem MOE. The vertical distribution of MOE showed that the lowest portion of the stem (bolt 1) was approximately 30% less stiff than bolts 2 and 3. After the greatest MOE value had been obtained at bolt 3, MOE gently declined to the top of the measured stem. Variation of MOE within trees was significant (58%) at the high stockings of 1457 and 2551 stems ha-1, but somewhat lower (36%) at the lower stockings. The 870 breed was approximately 8% and 16% stiffer than the 268 and 850 breeding series respectively, across all stockings, with the three-year-old cuttings being 7% stiffer than the one-year-old cuttings. At stockings of 481 stems ha-1 and less, the proportional height at which MOE was greatest within a tree was between 25% and 50% of stem height. At stockings above 481 stems ha-1 the proportional height at which maximum MOE was obtained was between 15% and 40% of stem height. Bolt slenderness was found to be the most significant factor impacting on MOE of the bolt. Regression of critical buckling height against diameter at ground level yielded a scaling exponent of 0.55, which was lower than the scaling exponent of 0.67 predicted with constant density-specific stiffness. There was a tendency for some bolts with lower mean diameter to display significantly higher safety margins than bolts with higher mean diameter, suggesting that the largest bolts, which occur at the base of tree, are the point of most likely critical failure.