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Crown structure and wood properties : influence on tree sway and response to high winds

Sellier D., Fourcaud T.. 2009. American Journal of Botany, 96 (5) : p. 885-896.

Wind can alter plant growth and cause extensive, irreversible damage in forested areas. To hotter understand how to mitigate the effects of wind action, we investigated the sensitivity of tree aerodynamic behavior to the material and geometrical factors characterizing the aerial system. The mechanical response of a 35 yr-old maritime pine (Pinas /thoser. Pinaceae) submitted to static and dynamic wind loads is simulated with a finite element model. The branching structure is represented in three dimensions. Factor effects are evaluated using, a fractional experimental design. Results show that material properties play only a limited role in tree dynamics. In contrast, small morphological variations can produce extreme behaviors such as either very little or nearly critical dissipation of stem oscillations. Slender trees are shown to be relatively more vulnerable to stem breakage than uprooting. Dynamic loading, leads to deflections and forces up to 20% higher near the base of the tree than those calculated for a static loading of similar magnitude. Effects of branch geometry on dynamic amplification are substantial yet not linear. The flexibility of the aerial system is found to be critical to reducing the resistance to the airflow and thus to minimizing the risk of failure. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : pinus pinaster

Thématique : Anatomie et morphologie des plantes; Technologie des produits forestiers; Méthodes mathématiques et statistiques; Troubles divers des plantes

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