Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 85, Issue 0, pp 463–478 | Cite as

Lunar Rhythms In Forestry Traditions – Lunar-Correlated Phenomena In Tree Biology And Wood Properties

  • Ernst Zürcher


For more than 2000 years, certain forestry practices andrules regarding tree felling have been carried out in observance to Moon cycles. A general review of the differenttypes of rules followed (known in Europe and on other continents and stemming from both written sources andcurrent practitioners) shows that special timber uses are mentioned in relation to a specific felling date whichsupposedly ensures advantageous wood properties.

These empirical forestry traditions apply to a range ofwood uses as diverse as building timber, shingles, wooden chimneys, fuel wood, resonance wood for harmonytables of violins, cheese-boxes, barrels and ploughs. In each of these cases, felling at the “right date” isthought to be an important factor to ensure the required properties of the product. Moreover, the rafting of timber used tobe limited to certain days of the Moon cycle, when the water was supposed to carry the wood in the best way.

The second part presents scientific studies concerned,on the one hand, with “Moon phases” factor. They deal with elements of tree biology such as germinationand initial growth of tropical trees (where strong and systematic variations and their complicating aspectshave been observed), insect attacks on trees and reversible fluctuations of stem diameters. On the other hand, someworks concentrate on wood properties and the relation between wood and water. They deal with the durabilityof wood, with systematic density variations after kiln-drying and with variations in the compression strength of the corresponding samples.An overview tries to find a common link between empirical practicesand the scientific results.

Chronobiology felling date Moon phases traditional forestry tree biology wood properties 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst Zürcher
    • 1
  1. 1.Wood Sciences, HG F.21, Department of Forest SciencesSwiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH-ZentrumZürichSwitzerland.

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