UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Using X-ray CT Scanned Reconstructed Logs to Predict Knot Characteristics and Tree Value Ji, Airu; Cool, Julie; Duchesne, Isabelle


Research Highlights: Stand density was connected with wood quality and lumber production to develop a predictive model to better estimate tree value. Background and Objectives: The available standing wood volume in British Columbia (BC), Canada has consistently decreased since 1990. Better understanding the link between stand growth conditions, knot characteristics, the sawmilling process and product quality is essential in making informed forest management decisions and efficiently utilizing wood. The overall objective was to investigate and predict the impact of tree growth as affected by stand density on knot characteristics, lumber volume and value recoveries for two conifer species, two types of sawmills and three economic scenarios. Materials and Methods: Seventy-two amabilis fir and western hemlock trees were harvested from three stands located on Vancouver Island, BC. Sawlogs were scanned using an X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner and images were processed to extract knot characteristics and reconstruct three-dimensional (3D) log models. The effects of three diameter at breast height (DBH) classes (30, 40 and 50 cm) and three stand densities on knot characteristics, including knot volume, number of knots, average knot area and knot/tree volume ratio, as well as the simulated lumber volume and value recoveries from two types of sawmills (i.e., Coastal and Interior) under three economic scenarios (i.e., baseline, optimistic, and pessimistic) were investigated. Results: As expected, the knot characteristics of both species increased with the DBH. The difference of knot distribution between amabilis fir and western hemlock suggests that the latter is more sensitive to growth site conditions. The sawmilling simulations revealed that the Coastal mill produced a lower lumber volume due to the type of products manufactured and the primary breakdown patterns being used. Conclusions: The developed linear mixed effects models based on the knot characteristics and tree features could predict the value of a standing tree and can be used for estimating preharvest stand value of similar Coastal Hem-Fir forests.

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