Effect of circumferential heterogeneity of wood maturation strain, modulus of elasticity and radial growth on the regulation of stem orientation in trees

Almeras, T.; Thibaut, A.; Gril, J.

Trees Structure and Function 19(4): 457-467

2005


DOI: 10.1007/s00468-005-0407-6
Accession: 004419497

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Abstract
Active mechanisms of re-orientation are necessary to maintain the verticality of tree stems. They are achieved through the production of reaction wood, associated with circumferential variations of three factors related to cambial activity: maturation strain, longitudinal modulus of elasticity (MOE) and eccentric growth. These factors were measured on 17 mature trees from different botanical families and geographical locations. Various patterns of circumferential variation of these factors were identified. A biomechanical analysis based on beam theory was performed to quantify the individual impact of each factor. The main factor of re-orientation is the circumferential variation of maturation strains. However, this factor alone explains only 57% of the re-orientations. Other factors also have an effect through their interaction with maturation strains. Eccentric growth is generally associated with heterogeneity of maturation strains, and has an important complementary role, by increasing the width of wood with high maturation strain. Without this factor, the efficiency of re-orientations would be reduced by 31% for angiosperms and 26% for gymnosperms. In the case of angiosperms, MOE is often larger in tension wood than in normal wood. Without these variations, the efficiency of re-orientations would be reduced by 13%. In the case of gymnosperm trees, MOE of compression wood is lower than that of normal wood, so that re-orientation efficiency would be increased by 24% without this factor of variations.

Effect of circumferential heterogeneity of wood maturation strain, modulus of elasticity and radial growth on the regulation of stem orientation in trees