Wood Science and Technology

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 149–162 | Cite as

Inter-tree and intra-tree variations in ring width and wood density components in balsam fir (Abies balsamea)

  • S. Koga
  • S. Y. ZhangEmail author


This study quantified and compared intra-tree and inter-tree variations in ring width and wood density components in balsam fir (Abies balsamea) grown in Quebec, Canada. In addition, the study examined correlations between ring width and wood density components at different stem positions from the stump level to the stem top. Ring width and wood density components of individual rings were measured by X-ray densitometry. Both the intra- and inter-tree variations in balsam fir are large, but the inter-tree variation is relatively smaller than the intra-tree variation. Much of the intra-tree variation is due to the radial variation, whereas the axial variation is much smaller. Compared to ring width and its components, wood density characteristics show a considerably smaller variation at both the inter- and intra-tree level. In almost all wood characteristics studied (except for latewood width), the intra- and inter-tree variations are more or less influenced by tree age. Cambial age explains more intra-tree variation in wood density components than ring width, whereas more intra-tree variation in ring width components is due to ring width. Cambial age and ring width explain a comparable percentage of variation in ring density. Only a few of the correlations between ring width and wood density components vary significantly with stem position from the stump to the stem top at the inter-tree level. In balsam fir, a negative correlation between ring density and ring width is significant in the butt log, but the correlation decreases to an insignificant level at and above a height of 3.0 m.


Wood Density Ring Width Stem Volume Stem Height Ring Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Dr. Jean Bégin, Department of Wood and Forest Sciences at Laval University, for providing the disk material used in this study. We are also grateful to Mr. Gilles Chauret of Forintek Canada Corp. for his assistance with X-ray densitometry.


  1. Abdel-Gadir AY, Krahmer RL, McKimmy MD (1993) Relationships between intra-ring variables in mature Douglas-fir trees from provenance plantation. Wood Fiber Sci 25(2):182–191Google Scholar
  2. Fukazawa K (1984) Juvenile wood of hardwood judged by density variation. IAWA Bull 5(1):65–72Google Scholar
  3. Gonzalez JS (1990) Wood density of Canadian tree species. Forestry Canada Northern Forestry Centre, Inf Rep NOR-X-315Google Scholar
  4. Jessome AP (2000) Strength and related properties of woods grown in Canada. Forintek Canada Corp, Publication SP-514E, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, pp 37Google Scholar
  5. Jourdain CJ, Olson JR (1984) Wood property variation among forty-eight families of American sycamore. Wood Fiber Sci 16(4):498–507Google Scholar
  6. Jozsa LA, Richard JE, Jonson SG (1987) Calibration of Forintek’s direct reading X-ray densitometer. Forintek Canada Corp, CFS Report No. 36a, Vancouver, BCGoogle Scholar
  7. Koga S, Zhang SY (2002) Relationships between wood density and annual growth rate components in balsam fir (Abies balsamea). Wood Fiber Sci 34(1):146–157Google Scholar
  8. Koga S, Zhang SY, Bégin J (2002) Effects of precommercial thinning on annual radial growth and wood density in balsam fir (Abies balsamea). Wood Fiber Sci 34(4):625–642Google Scholar
  9. Larson PR (1967) Silvicultural control of the characteristics of wood used for furniture. In: Proceedings of the 4th TAPPI forest biology conference, New York, pp 143–150Google Scholar
  10. Loo-Dinkins JA, Gonzalez JS (1991) Genetic control of wood density profile in young Douglas-fir. Can J Forest Res 21:935–939Google Scholar
  11. Magnussen S, Keith CT (1990) Genetic improvement of volume and wood properties of jack pine: selection strategies. Forest Chron 66:281–286Google Scholar
  12. Mullins EJ, McKnight TS (1981) Canadian woods: their properties and uses, 3rd edn. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pp 389Google Scholar
  13. Panshin AJ, De Zeeuw C (1980) Textbook of wood technology, 4th edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Park YSJ, Simpson D, Fowler P, Morgenstern EK (1989) Selection index with desired gains to rogue jack pine seedling seed orchard. Canadian forest service maritimes region, Inf Rep M-X-176, Fredericton, NBGoogle Scholar
  15. SAS Institute Inc (1988) SAS/STAT user’s guide. Release 6.03 edn. SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  16. Schneider R (2001) Effet d’une éclaircie précommerciale 28 ans après traitement sur la productivité d’une sapinière en Gaspésie. Mémoire de maîtrise, Faculté de foresterie et de géomatique, Université Laval, Quebec, p 31Google Scholar
  17. Tajima T (1967) Tree growth and wood properties. Research report, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University, Tokyo, JapanGoogle Scholar
  18. Vargas-Hernandez J, Adams WT (1991) Genetic variation of wood density components in young coastal Douglas-fir: implication for tree breeding. Can J Forest Res 21:1801–1807Google Scholar
  19. Zarnovican R, Laberge C (1996) Effect of precommercial thinning on the production of young fir stands on the Upper North Shore. Canadian forest service, Inf Rep LAU-X118E, Sainte-Foy, QuebecGoogle Scholar
  20. Zhang SY (1998) Effect of age on the variation, correlations and inheritance of selected wood characteristics in black spruce (Picea mariana). Wood Sci Technol 32:197–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zhang SY, Corneau Y, Chauret G (1998) Impact of precommercial thinning on tree and wood characteristics, and product quality and value in balsam fir. Canadian forest service report No. 39, Forintek Canada Corp, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, pp 75Google Scholar
  22. Zhang SY, Jiang ZH (1998) Variability of selected wood characteristics in 40 half-sib families of black spruce (Picea mariana). Wood Sci Technol 32:71–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zhang SY, Nepveu G, Eyono Owoundi R (1994) Intratree and intertree variation in selected wood quality characteristics of European oak (Quercus petraea and Quercus robur). Can J Forest Res 24:1818–1823Google Scholar
  24. Zobel BJ, van Buijtenen JP (1989) Wood variation: its causes and control. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 363Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Resource Assessment and Utilization GroupForintek Canada Corp.Sainte-FoyCanada
  2. 2.Department of Forest and Forest Products Sciences, Graduate School of AgricultureKyushu UniversityKasuyaJapan

Personalised recommendations