Effect of regeneration method on growth, wood density and fibre properties of downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.)
Luostarinen K., Huotari N., Tillman-Sutela E. (2009). Effect of regeneration method on growth, wood density and fibre properties of downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.). Silva Fennica vol. 43 no. 3 article id 191. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.191
Short rotation tree stands, established by coppicing, are nowadays used mainly for energy purposes in Fennoscandia, but their usage for pulp raw material may increase in the future. Downy birch (Betula pubescens), which is commonly used for pulp production in boreal zone, has good sprouting capacity. However, it is not known if the fibre properties of sprout-originated downy birches differ from those of seed-originated ones. Therefore, fibre length and width of sprout- and seed-originated downy birches grown on fertile soil were measured at a stand age of 25 years. Additionally annual ring width, stem height and diameter, and wood density were studied to compare the growth and wood properties of sprout- and seed-originated birches. Annual rings were slightly wider in sprout- than in seed-originated birches, whereas no differences were observed in wood density. Fibres, too, were slightly longer and wider in sprout- than in seed-originated trees. Still these minor differences observed here are hardly significant for the industries using birch wood. Consequently downy birch wood from coppiced stands is well suited for pulp. The advantages of coppice, i.e. rapidity and low costs of establishment, productivity, and the ability of downy birch to grow on untypical forest sites, may even increase the importance of the wood coming from coppiced birch stands in the future.
Received 5 June 2008 Accepted 4 June 2009 Published 31 December 2009