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Can wood properties be predicted from the morphological traits of a tree? A canonical correlation study of plantation-grown white spruce

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Abstract:

There is a growing interest in predicting wood quality from tree morphology traits, which can be measured using remote sensing techniques such as LiDAR, to enhance forest inventory for operational planning. In this study, we investigated the correlation structure between these two categories of traits in white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) using canonical and multiple regression analyses with the objective of identifying key morphology variables that are predictive of wood quality. For 495 trees from a 30-year-old plantation, we obtained measurements of tree height and dimensions of the living crown, as well as the number and diameter of live branches at selected whorls. Wood traits were assessed from wood cores with SilviScan technology. Morphological traits explained almost 29% of the overall variation observed in wood traits. However, the magnitude of the correlations and the ability of crown morphological traits to predict wood traits differed widely among the latter. Average ring width and radial cell diameter, both related to increment, were well correlated with tree morphology, whereas traits related to subcellular structure, for instance, microfibril angle, were poorly correlated. These results could guide the choice of wood traits to improve inventory techniques aiming to optimize the forest product value chain.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/x2012-087

Affiliations: 1: Université Laval, Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, Centre d’étude de la forêt, 1030, avenue de la Médecine, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada. 2: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, 1055 du P.E.P.S., P.O. Box 10380, Stn. Sainte-Foy, Québec, QC G1V 4C7, Canada. 3: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, 1055 du P.E.P.S., P.O. Box 10380, Stn. Sainte-Foy, Québec, QC G1V 4C7, Canada.

Publication date: August 31, 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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