Problem Area 1. Wood Quality

The emphasis of this research is on relating basic wood properties to location within tree or stand, environment, forest management and genetic factors that affect southern pine wood formation. Understanding the effect of wood formation factors (e.g. juvenile/mature wood, sapwood/heartwood, earlywood/latewood content, specific gravity, tracheid length, microfibril angle) on wood quality will provide knowledge to develop forest management practices targeted to development of specific wood properties and modeling to predict basic wood properties. Research efforts in this area will be conducted in cooperation with the Wood Quality Consortium, located at the University of Georgia, and will rely on the availability of trees with a known history, thus utilizing material from university and industry studies and other well-documented stands across the South.

Problem Area 1a. Intensive Silvicultural Practices

The unit will study the effect of vegetation control, initial planting density, thinning, fertilization and length of rotation on wood physical and mechanical properties.

Problem Area 1b. Environmental Factors

The unit will examine the relationship between wood quality and environmental factors such as precipitation, temperature, length of growing season and soils.

Problem Area 1c. Genetic Improvements

The unit, in conjunction with other units, will study the effect of genetically improved seedlings have on basic wood properties such as stiffness, strength and dimensional stability to enable utilization of wood from fast growing southern pine plantations for current and emerging forest products.