UBC Undergraduate Research

A review of the effects of silviculture on wood quality Hart, James Foster


This paper reviews the effects of silviculture on wood quality. The term silviculture is employed to encompass a broad range of forest management practices which may alter a forest’s composition, growth, and environment. Generally, the main components for assessing wood quality for structural purposes are strength, stiffness, and dimensional stability; while pulp and paper quality requirements include strength, tracheid dimensions, and chemical composition. The quality of wood is determined through various wood characteristics such as: density, microfibril angle, proportion of juvenile wood, fibre length, compression wood, and knots. The following sections will discuss how these wood properties affect end use quality of raw materials. The quality can be affected by various silvicultural techniques both at the microscopic and macroscopic levels. Silviculture treatments are most often implemented with the goal of manipulating tree growth to enhance vigor or crown size. Common treatments include spacing, respacing/thinning, pruning, and fertilization. Techniques following this approach are ultimately linked to the resulting wood characteristics. The review is separated into three major sections. The first section concerns properties and their effect on wood quality. Next, the effects of silvicultural on wood properties and characteristics will be discussed. The report concludes with considerations and recommendations in regards implementing each silvicultural technique are and how they can be applied to best meet the end-user requirements of wood quality. Finally, several recommendations are provided for where further research should be focused.

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