Journal Article

High-resolution proxies for wood density variations in <i>Terminalia superba</i>

Maaike De Ridder, Jan Van den Bulcke, Dries Vansteenkiste, Denis Van Loo, Manuel Dierick, Bert Masschaele, Yoni De Witte, David Mannes, Eberhard Lehmann, Hans Beeckman, Luc Van Hoorebeke and Joris Van Acker

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 107, issue 2, pages 293-302
Published in print February 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq224
High-resolution proxies for wood density variations in Terminalia superba

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Density is a crucial variable in forest and wood science and is evaluated by a multitude of methods. Direct gravimetric methods are mostly destructive and time-consuming. Therefore, faster and semi- to non-destructive indirect methods have been developed.

Methods

Profiles of wood density variations with a resolution of approx. 50 µm were derived from one-dimensional resistance drillings, two-dimensional neutron scans, and three-dimensional neutron and X-ray scans. All methods were applied on Terminalia superba Engl. & Diels, an African pioneer species which sometimes exhibits a brown heart (limba noir).

Key Results

The use of X-ray tomography combined with a reference material permitted direct estimates of wood density. These X-ray-derived densities overestimated gravimetrically determined densities non-significantly and showed high correlation (linear regression, R2 = 0·995). When comparing X-ray densities with the attenuation coefficients of neutron scans and the amplitude of drilling resistance, a significant linear relation was found with the neutron attenuation coefficient (R2 = 0·986) yet a weak relation with drilling resistance (R2 = 0·243). When density patterns are compared, all three methods are capable of revealing the same trends. Differences are mainly due to the orientation of tree rings and the different characteristics of the indirect methods.

Conclusions

High-resolution X-ray computed tomography is a promising technique for research on wood cores and will be explored further on other temperate and tropical species. Further study on limba noir is necessary to reveal the causes of density variations and to determine how resistance drillings can be further refined.

Keywords: High-resolution X-ray tomography; neutron imaging; drilling resistance; Terminalia superba; wood density

Journal Article.  6612 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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