Models for predicting microfibril angle variation in Scots pine
Microfibril angle (MFA) is one of the key determinants of solid timber performance due to its strong influence on the stiffness, strength, shrinkage properties and dimensional stability of wood.
The aim of this study was to develop a model for predicting MFA variation in plantation-grown Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L). A specific objective was to quantify the additional influence of growth rate on the radial variation in MFA.
Twenty-three trees were sampled from four mature Scots pine stands in Scotland, UK. Pith-to-bark MFA profiles were obtained on 69 radial samples using scanning X-ray diffractometry. A nonlinear mixed-effects model based on a modified Michaelis–Menten equation was developed using cambial age and annual ring width as explanatory variables.
The largest source of variation in MFA (>90 %) was within trees, while between-tree variation represented just 7 % of the total. Microfibril angle decreased rapidly near the pith before reaching stable values in later annual rings. The effect of ring width on MFA was greater at higher cambial ages.
A large proportion of the variation in MFA was explained by the fixed effects of cambial age and annual ring width. The final model is intended for integration into growth, yield and wood quality simulation systems.
KeywordsMicrofibril angle Pinus sylvestris Nonlinear mixed-effects models Radial variation Growth rate Ring width
Thanks to Sven-Olof Lundqvist, Åke Hansson and Lars Olsen at Innventia, Stockholm, for training in the use of the SilviScan-3 instrument. To Forest Research staff and Technical Services Unit for assistance with the extensive programme of field work: Shaun Mochan, Elspeth Macdonald, Steve Osborne, Andy Kennedy, Colin McEvoy, Alistair Macleod, Sandy Bowran, Calum Murray, Colin Smart and Steve O’ Kane. Thanks also to Will Anderson (Seafield Estates), Steve Connolly (Cawdor Forestry) and Forestry Commission Scotland for the site access and sample trees.
This project was funded by the Scottish Forestry Trust and Forest Research as part of the first author’s doctoral thesis for the University of Aberdeen. The SilviScan work was partly funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) programme, under the Short-Term Scientific Mission initiative. Thanks to Professor John Barnett and Dr. Karin Hofstetter, the respective chairs of COST Actions E50 and FP0802.
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