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Stiffness of Douglas-fir lumber: effects of wood properties and genetics

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Because stiffness (modulus of elasticity (MOE)) is important for structural wood products, breeders and silviculturists seek to efficiently measure and improve this trait. We studied MOE in a 25-year-old progeny test of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) using field-based tools (ST300 and HM200) to measure stress wave MOE of standing trees and logs. We measured density, static bending MOE, and transverse vibration MOE on 2 × 4s, and density, SilviScan MOE, and SilviScan microfibril angle on small clearwood samples. Bending MOE had moderate to strong phenotypic and genetic correlations with stress wave MOE of trees and logs, transverse vibration MOE of 2 × 4s, and the densities of 2 × 4s and basal wood discs but was weakly correlated with the numbers and sizes of knots. The best lumber grade had the highest bending stiffness and smallest edge knots. Bending stiffness had a strong positive correlation with the density of small clearwood samples and a moderate negative correlation with microfibril angle. Compared with microfibril angle and edge knots, path analyses indicated that density had the strongest direct effect on bending MOE. We recommend that breeders measure and select for stress wave velocity to improve bending stiffness in Douglas-fir. Genetic gains can be increased by including wood density, but genetic selection for fewer or smaller knots will be ineffective.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, 321 Richardson Hall, Corvallis, OR 97330-5752, USA. 2: Stand Management Cooperative, School of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Box 352100, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. 3: Olympic Resource Management, Port Gamble Office, 4 Rainier Avenue, P.O. Box 7, Port Gamble, WA 98364, USA. 4: CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, Private Bag 10, Clayton VIC 3169, Australia.

Publication date: 2011-06-26

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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