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Institute of

HF Wood Research


Wood utilization in the future under the influence of climate change

© Thünen-Institut/Martin Nopens

Influences of tree growth conditions on wood properties

Due to the influence of climate change, the growing conditions of trees in Germany and Europe will change. Consequently, the technological properties of wood will change with challenges for downstream industries. To ensure the most efficient use of wood as a resource, we are investigating the relationships between environmental factors and wood properties.

Background and Objective

A key parameter for the material usage of wood is the density or the density distribution over the cross-section. The density mainly influences the mechanical properties of the wood and is a decisive factor for its usability. The density of native woods varies throughout the year and also depends on growing conditions such as climate.

Up to now, the density of the wood and the course can only be determined after felling and is usually only considered after sawing when assessing the quality of the boards. It would be advantageous to be able to predict the density in order to better assess the usability of stands. Through modelling it would also be possible to predict the quality of future stands taking into account climate change.

The aim of the project is therefore to develop a model with which the density, density distribution and the resulting technological properties can be mapped for the main commercial tree species in Germany.


In addition to literature research and data collection, experimental work will be carried out on existing wood species - considering the changed living conditions - to investigate the relationship between growth conditions and wood properties.  Using specifically collected tree trunk slices, growth (especially wood density) will be investigated in relation to environmental factors and subsequently modelled. In parallel, the technical wood properties will be investigated in relation to the material density. Subsequently, both areas will be merged.

Our Research Questions

How are the technological wood properties of relevant commercial tree species changing due to the influence of climate change?

Will these species still be usable in the future from a technical point of view?

Are there alternative future wood species that will provide technically suitable timber under the influence of climate change?

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