, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 31–41 | Cite as

Looking for differences in wood properties as a function of the felling date: lunar phase-correlated variations in the drying behavior of Norway Spruce (Picea abies Karst.) and Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.)

  • Ernst ZürcherEmail author
  • R. Schlaepfer
  • M. Conedera
  • F. Giudici
Original Paper


A large-scale field experiment on the drying behavior of Norway Spruce (Picea abies Karst.) and Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) in relation to the felling date was conducted over a period of 24 weeks in order to investigate the existence of variations linked to lunar rhythms, which are mentioned as having a role in many traditional forestry practices. The measured criteria were the water loss from fresh to dry state, the shrinkage linked to this water loss, and the relative density (ratio between the dry density and the initial fresh density) for both sapwood and heartwood in Picea and heartwood in Castanea. In addition to seasonal trends, slight but significant variations with lunar periodicities (both synodic and sidereal; to a much lesser extent tropic) characterize the three investigated criteria. These lunar rhythmicities occur in both Picea and Castanea, in heartwood and sapwood. These results raise new questions and perspectives about a rhythmic character of the wood–water relation.


Forestry traditions Moon phases Technical drying Wood–water relation 



This research was supported by funds provided by Wolfermann-Nägeli-Foundation Zürich, Chambre des Bois de l’Ouest Vaudois, Sezione Forestale Cantonale (Ticino), Federlegno Ticino, Graubünden Holz (Amt für Wald Mittelbünden), Kantonsforstamt Schwyz, Schwyzer Arbeitsgemeinschaft HOLZ, Kloster Einsiedeln SZ, and Thoma Holz GmbH (Austria). The realization occurred with the collaboration of Christian Rogenmoser, Dr. Thomas Volkmer, Werner Gerber, Andrea Florinett, Christian Barandun, Eric Treboux, Denis Pidoux, Serge Lüthi, Christophe Rémy, Daniel Meyer, Marco Delucchi, Theo Weber, Dr. Joan Davis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst Zürcher
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Schlaepfer
    • 2
  • M. Conedera
    • 3
  • F. Giudici
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Architecture, Wood and Civil EngineeringBern University of Applied SciencesBiel-BienneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Ecological Systems (ECOS), Institute for Environmental Sciences and Technologies (ISTE)Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) Station 2LausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Research Unit Ecosystem BoundariesSwiss Federal Research Institute WSL (Forest, Snow and Landscape)BellinzonaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Federlegno TicinoRiveraSwitzerland

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