New formula and conversion factor to compute basic wood density of tree species using a global wood technology database

Vieilledent Ghislain, Fischer Fabian Jörg, Chave Jérôme, Guibal Daniel, Langbour Patrick, Gérard Jean. 2018. New formula and conversion factor to compute basic wood density of tree species using a global wood technology database. American Journal of Botany, 105 (10) : pp. 1653-1661.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : PLANT SCIENCES

Abstract : Premise of the Study : Basic wood density is an important ecological trait for woody plants. It is used to characterize species performance and fitness in community ecology and to compute tree and forest biomass in carbon cycle studies. While wood density has been historically measured at 12% moisture, it is convenient for ecological purposes to convert this measure to basic wood density, i.e., the ratio of dry mass over green volume. Basic wood density can then be used to compute tree dry biomass from living tree volume. Methods: Here, we derive a new exact formula to compute the basic wood density Db from the density at moisture content w denoted Dw, the fiber saturation point S, and the volumetric shrinkage coefficient R. We estimated a new conversion factor using a global wood technology database where values to use this formula are available for 4022 trees collected in 64 countries (mostly tropical) and representing 872 species. Key Results: We show that previous conversion factors used to convert densities at 12% moisture into basic wood densities are inconsistent. Based on theory and data, we found that basic wood density could be inferred from the density at 12% moisture using the following formula: Db = 0.828D12. This value of 0.828 provides basic wood density estimates 4–5% smaller than values inferred from previous conversion factors. Conclusions: This new conversion factor should be used to derive basic wood densities in global wood density databases. Its use would prevent overestimating global forest carbon stocks and allow predicting better tree species community dynamics from wood density.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : forêt tropicale, Bois tropical, Densité, humidité du bois, Technologie du bois, Banque de données, Biomasse, évaluation des stocks de carbone

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Brésil, Guyane française, Burundi, Cameroun, République centrafricaine, Congo, Gabon, Guinée, Viet Nam, Océanie, Guadeloupe, Nouvelle-Calédonie

Mots-clés libres : CIRAD wood density database, Basic wood density, Forest biomass, Carbon stocks, Wood moisture, Tropical forests, Wood technology

Classification Agris : K50 - Processing of forest products
C30 - Documentation and information
K01 - Forestry - General aspects

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 2 (2014-2018) - Valorisation de la biomasse

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Vieilledent Ghislain, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (ITA) ORCID: 0000-0002-1685-4997 - auteur correspondant
  • Fischer Fabian Jörg, Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier (FRA)
  • Chave Jérôme, CNRS (FRA)
  • Guibal Daniel, CIRAD-PERSYST-UPR BioWooEB (FRA)
  • Langbour Patrick, CIRAD-PERSYST-UPR BioWooEB (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0001-6037-255X
  • Gérard Jean, CIRAD-PERSYST-UPR BioWooEB (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-5005-8636

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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