Determination of Important Pulp Properties of Hybrid Poplar by Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Laurence R. Schimleck, Peggy Payne, Ross H. Wearne


Hybrid poplars are widely grown in the northwestern United States for manufacturing short fiber market pulp. Improvement of whole-tree basic density and pulp yield, important variables in the economics of pulp production, is an objective of tree breeding programs; but the number of trees analyzed is limited by expensive analytical methods. Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy provides a rapid alternative, and in this study we investigate its ability to estimate poplar pulpwood properties. Whole-tree cellulose content and pulp yield calibrations, based on 3- and 6-year-old clones, were generally strong, while relationships were weaker for basic density. Breast height cores from 6-year-old clones gave a strong core cellulose content calibration. Cellulose content and pulp yield calibrations based on NIR spectra from milled increment cores and whole-tree data gave strong relationships for 6-year-old clones, indicating that the prediction of these properties, on a whole-tree basis, using breast height increment cores may be possible.


Basic density;cellulose content;hybrid poplars;near infrared spectroscopy;pulp yield

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