Relationships Between Wood Density and Annual Growth Rate Components in Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea)

Shinya Koga, S. Y. Zhang


This study examined relationships of wood density components with annual growth rate components (or annual ring width components) in juvenile wood and mature wood of balsam fir [Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.]. The relationships were studied at two different levels: 1) inter-tree level (between trees), and 2) intra-tree level (within a tree). In addition, juvenile-mature wood correlations for these characteristics were investigated. Wood density and annual ring width components of individual growth rings were measured by X-ray densitometry. Based on tree averages (at the inter-tree level), wood density is significantly correlated with its components (earlywood density, latewood density) and latewood percentage in both juvenile wood and mature wood; and earlywood density and latewood percentage are the two most important parameters in determining the overall wood density of the tree. Wood density, however, is not significantly correlated with annual growth rate (ring width) in either juvenile wood or mature wood, although a weakly negative correlation tends to strengthen in mature wood. This suggests that the relationship between wood density and annual growth rate in this species may vary with cambial age. Intra-ring wood density variation (IDV) shows a positive correlation with wood density traits, latewood width, and latewood percentage in both juvenile wood and mature wood, whereas a weakly negative correlation of IDV with ring width and earlywood width exists in balsam fir. Latewood traits are the most important parameters in determining the intra-ring wood density uniformity. At the intra-tree level (based on ring averages within a tree), relationships between wood density components and ring width components are similar to those found between the trees, although some relationships, to some extent, vary with tree. For each wood density trait, the juvenile-mature wood correlation is significant but moderate. For this species, earlywood density in juvenile wood seems to be the best parameter for predicting mature wood density.


Balsam fir;wood density;ring width;earlywood;latewood;juvenile wood;mature wood;variation;correlation

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