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Anatomical and physico-mechanical properties of Acacia auriculiformis wood in relation to age and soil in Benin, West Africa

Tonouéwa J.F.M.F., Langbour P., Biaou S.H., Assèdé E.S.P., Guibal D., Kouchade C., Kounouhéwa B.B.. 2020. European Journal of Wood and Wood Products, 78 (4) : p. 745-756.

DOI: 10.1007/s00107-020-01540-x

Acacia auriculiformis is increasingly used as timber in Benin, while little is known about its wood characteristics and the factors affecting such characteristics in the country. The determination of these characteristics is necessary for understanding the functioning of this species and its uses. The aim of this study was to evaluate anatomical and physico-mechanical properties of Acacia auriculiformis in relation to age and soil type in Benin, West Africa. Nine different age plantations (young 6¿7 years old, middle-aged 9¿11 years old, aged 15¿29 years old) were sampled on three soil types (ferruginous, sandy and vertisol). In total, 30 trees were felled for determination of vessel diameter and vessel frequency from pith to bark, basic density, density at 12% moisture content, tangential and radial shrinkages, fiber saturation point, anisotropy of shrinkage, modulus of elasticity, compression strength, and bending strength. Age is the main factor influencing the physico-mechanical characteristics of the species and Acacia auriculiformis could be exploited at 15 years old for use as timber. Still, a high deformation ratio is noted on ferruginous soil. Besides, wood density is negatively correlated with anisotropy of shrinkage, which is an asset for the use of high density wood for structures. In contrast, the parameters of the vessels are weakly correlated with wood density. Further studies are necessary to understand the densification process of Acacia auriculiformis wood in order to optimize the production of high-density wood of the species, which is important for the use of wood as timber.

Mots-clés : plantation forestière; facteur édaphique; propriété du bois; propriété mécanique; anatomie végétale; acacia auriculiformis; bénin

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