Western Australian Softwood Resource Evaluation: a survey of key characteristics of the Pinus radiata and Pinus pinaster resources in Western Australia with links to product performance of trees sampled from each resource, as determined by a processing st
Wood properties such as strength and stiffness can vary considerably between trees in plantations, and this variation is expected to become greater as plantations are harvested at younger ages. This study examined Western Australian softwood plantations of Radiata pine (Pinus radiata) and Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) to determine the extent of variation in wood quality characteristics, link variations to site or silvicultural practices, and to relate standing tree measurements to log grade recovery and value. Sample trees were assessed for a range of characteristics, harvested and cut into commercial size boards for strength testing. The aim is to give forest owners more control over their stands and wood processors greater confidence in the quality of the raw material.
In general terms, the resource was very uniform and of high quality in relation to basic wood density and stiffness. It was also found that wood quality assessment parameters varied greater within sites than between sites.
Outer wood density was generally the best predictor of average board stiffness from a given tree. For forest resource evaluation it is recommended that outerwood density cores be collected on a routine basis, along with standing tree velocity values and visual assessments of branch size.