Cork oak wooda hard material to sample and to measure

  1. Sofía Leal
  2. Arantzazu González-Pérez 1
  3. Javier Vázquez-Piqué 1
  4. Philipp Duncker 2
  5. Heinrich Spiecker 2
  6. Helena Pereira
  1. 1 Universidad de Huelva

    Universidad de Huelva

    Huelva, España


  2. 2 University of Fribourg

    University of Fribourg

    Friburgo, Suiza


Suberwood: new challenges for the integration of cork oak forests and products
  1. Vázquez-Piqué, Javier (ed. lit.)
  2. Pereira, Helena (ed. lit.)
  3. González-Pérez, Arantzazu (ed. lit.)

Publisher: Universidad de Huelva ; Centro de Investigación y Documentación del Eucalipto (CIDEU) ; Junta de Andalucía

ISBN: 978-84-96826-47-2 978-84-18628-34-4

Year of publication: 2008

Pages: 383-392

Type: Book chapter


Different studies within the Suberwood project required measurements of wood growth in cork oak trees (Quercus suber L), including tree ring analysis, as a basis to analyse the influence on tree growth of stress effects, namely those deriving from climatic conditions (i.e. water deficit) or from the cork extraction. The research partners have experienced serious difficulties in these tasks and some examples are presented and discussed. The first difficulty regards sampling because cork oak harvesting is forbidden in Portugal and advantage has to be taken from legally authorised tree fellings. The available material therefore consists mainly in thinning material (young trees), dead or diseased trees, and trees with damaged stems due to improper cork harvesting, which are useless for such studies. In most cases the information concerning the stand management is lacking, namely regarding the time of cork extraction and of other silvicultural operations (i.e. pruning), Therefore the experimental design regarding treatments and repetitions often cannot Follow the conventional statistical guidelines. The cork oak wood also has anatomical and structural features that bring considerable com-plexity for ring definition. The wood has a semi-ring porosity with poor growth ring definition and it is very difficult, and frequently impossible, to accurately identify growth rings and to link measurements to a certain year. Additionally cork extraction disturbs wood growth and anatomy. Different observation approaches were tested: overall microscopical observations, continuous radial measurement of vessel dimensions and density, continuous radial microdensitometric profiles, cambial wounding. The use of non-destructive samples (i.e. cores or small wood samples) adds to the uncertainty encountered. Stem discs offer a better observation but differences among different radii are often very large.