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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Non-Destructive Assessment of Wood Stiffness in Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and its Use in Forest Tree Improvement

Fundova, Irena; Funda, Tomas; Wu, Harry X.


Wood stiffness is an important wood mechanical property that predetermines the suitability of sawn timber for construction purposes. Negative genetic correlations between wood stiffness and growth traits have, however, been reported for many conifer species including Scots pine. It is, therefore, important that breeding programs consider wood stiffness and growth traits simultaneously. The study aims to (1) evaluate different approaches of calculating the dynamic modulus of elasticity (MOE, non-destructively assessed stiffness) using data from X-ray analysis (SilviScan) as a benchmark, (2) estimate genetic parameters, and (3) apply index selection. In total, we non-destructively measured 622 standing trees from 175 full-sib families for acoustic velocity (VEL) using Hitman and for wood density (DEN) using Resistograph and Pilodyn. We combined VEL with different wood densities, raw (DENRES) and adjusted (DENRES.TB) Resistograph density, Pilodyn density measured with (DENPIL) and without bark (DENPIL.B), constant of 1000 kg.m(-3) (DENCONST), and SilviScan density (DENSILV), to calculate MOEs and compare them with the benchmark SilviScan MOE (MOESILV). We also derived Smith-Hazel indices for simultaneous improvement of stem diameter (DBH) and wood stiffness. The highest additive genetic and phenotypic correlations of the benchmark MOESILV with the alternative MOE measures (tested) were attained by MOEDENSILV (0.95 and 0.75, respectively) and were closely followed by MOEDENRES.TB (0.91 and 0.70, respectively) and MOEDENCONST and VEL (0.91 and 0.65, respectively for both). Correlations with MOEDENPIL, MOEDENPIL.B, and MOEDENRES were lower. Narrow-sense heritabilities were moderate, ranging from 0.39 (MOESILV) to 0.46 (MOEDENSILV). All indices revealed an opportunity for joint improvement of DBH and MOE. Conclusions: MOEDENRES.TB appears to be the most efficient approach for indirect selection for wood stiffness in Scots pine, although VEL alone and MOEDENCONST have provided very good results too. An index combining DBH and MOEDENRES.TB seems to offer the best compromise for simultaneous improvement of growth, fiber, and wood quality traits.


scots pine; stiffness; modulus of elasticity; density; wood quality; heritability; genetic correlation; index selection; improvement

Published in

2019, Volume: 10, number: 6
Publisher: MDPI