Assessment of the pulpwood quality of standing trees using near infrared spectroscopy

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Publication details

Schimleck, LR, Michell, AJ, Raymond, CA & Muneri, A 1998, 'Assessment of the pulpwood quality of standing trees using near infrared spectroscopy', Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy, vol. 6A, pp. 117-123.

The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at http://dx.doi.org/doi: 10.1255/jnirs.178

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In Australia, considerable effort has been directed at improving the pulp yield of plantation grown trees through tree breeding programs. However, an improvement in pulp yield relies on the assessment of large numbers of trees. Traditional methods of assessment are expensive, time consuming and destructive, inhibiting their use. Cores can be extracted non-destructively from standing trees using TRECOR, a handheld motor driven drill. The cores are milled, their near-infrared spectra obtained and pulp yield estimated using an appropriate calibration model. The height at which the core is taken is very important. It must represent the whole tree and sampling must be easy and practical. The longitudinal and radial (within-tree) variation of pulp yield for 15 Eucalyptus nitens trees was examined using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. The trees were taken from three families (five trees per family) selected for giving high, medium and low pulp yields espectively. Three trees (one from each family) were examined in detail. Maps of within-tree variation of pulp yield were developed. Pulp yield was found to be highly variable within individual trees and between trees of the same family. The yield of samples from 10% of tree height (approximately 2.2 m) gave the best correlation with whole-tree yield. Samples from 5% of tree height (approximately 1.1 m) gave a slightly lower correlation but provided a more convenient sampling height. Ten Eucalyptus globulus and ten E. nitenstrees growing on five sites in Australia were used to examine the longitudinal variation of pulp yield. Trees from sites in Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria were sampled. The optimal sampling height for E. globulus was 1.1 m. No single sampling height could be recommended for E. nitens due to large site effects.

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