Measuring tree and wood properties

We need to measure tree and wood properties (particularly those of sawn timber) in order to meet our overall objective of understanding the potential of the national forest resource. We can do this through traditional methods, but technological developments mean that these may no longer be the most accurate or efficient methods. It is important therefore to keep an eye on the state-of-the-art technologies, or even pioneer methods, to measure properties that are vital for commercial exploitation. Below is a summary of what we are currently doing.

Knot Measurement & Modelling Using CT Scanning
Developing methods to predict knot size and knot shape within trees based on their external characteristics.

Rapid cross-sectional measurements of wood stiffness
Investigating the whether we can incorporate ultrasonic and image analysis methods to assist our studies of mechanical stiffness across tree stems.

Compression Wood in Conifers
Forest Research was the leading partner in a pan-European study undertaken to evaluate the impact of compression wood on softwood timber and develop solutions to minimise its detrimental effects.

Tree Stem Assessments
Stem size and shape are of great importance for timber production and also help us to understand how trees grow and adapt in different environments, so stem form assessment is a key component of our timber quality studies.

Tree & Wood Properties Testing Equipment & Facilities
We also operate (or have access to) extensive testing equipment and facilities for use in timber quality studies, for example:

  • Acoustic velocity and wood stiffness
  • Airborne laser scanning (LiDAR)
  • Kiln for timber drying
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Strength, stiffness and density measurement
  • Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS)
  • X-ray densitometry