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Linking tree architecture, stem growth and timber quality : a review of some modelling approaches

  • Houllier, François
  • De Reffye, Philippe
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
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Most relationships between crown architectural development, stem growth and wood quality have an ecophysiological and/or biomechanical basis, which ultimately results into tree structural properties that concern both the bole and crown. For example: knottiness is linked to branchiness (knots as the output of crown development, branch growth and selfpruning); wood basic properties (basic density, spiral grain, colour, heartwood vs. sapwood, etc.) are linked to ring distribution (width and age); the core of juvenile wood is associated to the photosynthetically efficient part of the crown. Therefore, the structural description of tree compartments (stem, crown and roots) provides a conceptual framework which, according to the context and objectives of each specific study, can be used: either to establish statistical relationships between growth and wood quality (e.g., mapping basic density as a function of ring age and width); or to model some processes that determine timber quality (e,g., micro-density profiles as the result of translocation of photosynthates and cambial activity, or heartwood formation as the result of chemical processes within, and transfers among, annual rings). This paper first reviews different ways to describe tree structure and architecture, from simple and global techniques to more detailed point of view. It then discusses various modelling approaches (branchiness and knottiness, stem taper and radial growth, basic wood properties) and illustrates the difference and complementarity between empirical (data-based) and mechanistic (process-based) models.

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