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Density, extractives and decay resistance variabilities within branch wood from four agroforestry hardwood species

Terrasse F., Brancheriau L., Marchal R., Boutahar N., Lotte S., Guibal D., Pignolet L., Candelier K.. 2021. Iforest, 14 (3) : p. 212-220.

DOI: 10.3832/ifor3693-014

Agroforestry practices like pruning trees to control the light flux to crops produce every year a large volume of branches which is valorized by farmers as mulching or energy fuel. However, according to the literature, the wood of branches shows higher rates of polyphenols than stem wood and this can open some new perspectives for branch exploitation. In this study, the wood properties (density, mechanical properties, extractive content and decay resistance) were determined on branches of different sizes from oak, chestnut, poplar and walnut trees collected in two agroforestry systems. These properties were evaluated according to the wood age and the sampling position along the radial and longitudinal axes of the branch. All samples were analyzed by NIR-Spectroscopy and a predicting model aimed to assess the branch wood properties has been developed. Wood characteristics largely vary between species and do not exactly follow the same trends from one species to another. Overall, hardwood density of branches is similar to that of trunks, the content in wood extractives follows similar evolutions, and the decay resistance of branch wood does not seem to be really impacted by its position along the branch. Reliable NIRS models were built to easily predict the wood density and extractives content of agroforestry branches. The extractives content and the decay resistance of branch hardwood appear to be substantially lower than those of trunks, which suggests a non-suitability of branch wood for developing high-valued green chemistry.

Mots-clés : agroforesterie; propriété du bois; densité du bois; branche; carie du bois; quercus robur; castanea sativa; juglans nigra; juglans regia; populus; déchet d'exploitation forestière; spectroscopie infrarouge; résistance aux maladies; france; populus generosa

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