Technical properties of mature birch (Betula pendula and B. pubescens) for saw milling in Finland
The purpose of this study was to investigate the variation in selected technical properties of mature (age > 60 years) birch stems in southern and central Finland. Technical properties were defined as the natural external characteristics that cause differences in the usability of a certain section of stem in the mechanical wood industry, saw milling in particular. On mineral soils, birch stems in mixed stands were slightly larger than those in pure birch stands. On peatlands, however, birch stems in pure stands were larger than those in mixed stands. The average stem form of silver birch was straighter than that of white birch. Small-sized log sections of white birch, as well as those of codominant silver birch, typically contain many dead knots. On mineral soils, coniferous admixture had a positive effect on self-pruning of white birch. Self-pruning of silver birch was as good in pure birch stands as in mixed stands of spruce and birch. Occurrence of decay did not differ significantly between the two birch species. Not only silver birch, due to the growth and yield of the stand, but also vigorous and good-quality white birch, because of the possibility to provide high-quality logs, can be maintained profitably as an admixture in coniferous forests until final cutting.
Received 3 May 2000 Accepted 30 October 2001 Published 31 December 2001