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Identification of representative sampling heights for specific gravity and moisture content in plantation-grown loblolly pine (Pinus taeda)

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Conventionally, increment cores collected at breast height (1.4 m) have been used to measure wood properties of standing loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) trees. This height has been used because of the ease of sampling and cost involved in extracting the cores. In this study, the efficacy of a breast-height core to represent whole-tree specific gravity (SG) and moisture content (MC) was examined. The sampling height that best represents whole-tree SG and MC was identified using the correlation between volume-weighted whole-tree SG and MC with SG and MC measurements collected at different heights within a tree. We found a high correlation between observed whole-disk SG and MC with volume-weighted whole-tree SG and MC at most sampling heights. The strength of the correlation followed a skewed parabolic curve form for both wood properties. The strongest correlations were observed between 4.6 and 6.1 m, with marginally lower correlations at the base of the tree, and the weakest correlations were observed towards the tip of the tree. In addition, it was found that the number of stands and trees that need to be sampled to achieve a certain accuracy in overall mean whole-tree SG and MC was greater if breast height was used as a sampling height compared with the most representative sampling heights identified (4.6 m for SG and 6.1 m for MC).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 15, 2012

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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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