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New formula and conversion factor to compute basic wood density of tree species using a global wood technology database

Vieilledent G., Fischer F.J., Chave J., Guibal D., Langbour P., Gérard J.. 2018. American Journal of Botany, 105 (10) : p. 1653-1661.

Premise of the Study : Basic wood density is an important ecological trait for woody plants. It is used to characterize species performance and fitness in community ecology and to compute tree and forest biomass in carbon cycle studies. While wood density has been historically measured at 12% moisture, it is convenient for ecological purposes to convert this measure to basic wood density, i.e., the ratio of dry mass over green volume. Basic wood density can then be used to compute tree dry biomass from living tree volume. Methods: Here, we derive a new exact formula to compute the basic wood density Db from the density at moisture content w denoted Dw, the fiber saturation point S, and the volumetric shrinkage coefficient R. We estimated a new conversion factor using a global wood technology database where values to use this formula are available for 4022 trees collected in 64 countries (mostly tropical) and representing 872 species. Key Results: We show that previous conversion factors used to convert densities at 12% moisture into basic wood densities are inconsistent. Based on theory and data, we found that basic wood density could be inferred from the density at 12% moisture using the following formula: Db = 0.828D12. This value of 0.828 provides basic wood density estimates 4¿5% smaller than values inferred from previous conversion factors. Conclusions: This new conversion factor should be used to derive basic wood densities in global wood density databases. Its use would prevent overestimating global forest carbon stocks and allow predicting better tree species community dynamics from wood density.

Mots-clés : évaluation des stocks de carbone; biomasse; banque de données; technologie du bois; humidité du bois; densité; bois tropical; forêt tropicale; nouvelle-calédonie; guadeloupe; océanie; viet nam; guinée; gabon; congo; république centrafricaine; cameroun; burundi; guyane française; brésil

Thématique : Technologie des produits forestiers; Documentation et information; Foresterie - Considérations générales

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