Research Output

The effect of wind exposure on the tree aerial architecture and biomechanics of Sitka Spruce (picea sitchenisis Bong.).

  This paper reports on the effect of wind loading below damaging strength on tree mechanical and physical properties. In a wind-exposed Sitka spruce stand in western Scotland, 60 trees at four different levels of wind exposure (10 m, 30 m, 50 m, 90 m from edge) were characterized for stem and crown size and shape and mechanical properties, including structural Young's modulus (Estruct), natural frequency, and damping ratio. Estruct increased from the stand edge to the mid-forest, but with a large inter-tree variation. Swaying frequency and damping ratio of the trees also increased with distance from edge. Wind-exposed edge trees grew shorter, but more tapered with an overall lower Estruct, allowing for greater flexural stiffness at the stem base due to the larger diameter and for higher flexibility in the crown region of the stem. The trees at the middle of the stand compensated for their increased slenderness with a higher Estruct. Thus, for the different requirements for wind-firmness at stand edge and mid-forest, an adapted combination of tree form and mechanical properties allows the best withstanding of wind loads. The results show the requirement to understand the different strategies of trees to adapt to environmental constraints and the heterogeneity of their growth reactions in response to these strategies.

  • Type:

    Article

  • Date:

    01 October 2006

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • ISSN:

    0002-9122

Citation

Gardiner, B. A. & Brüchert, F. (2006). The effect of wind exposure on the tree aerial architecture and biomechanics of Sitka Spruce (picea sitchenisis Bong.). American Journal of Botany. 93, 1512-1521. ISSN 0002-9122

Keywords

architecture; biomechanics; crown size and shape; damping ratio; structural Young's modulus; swaying frequency

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