Wood density and stiffness of New Zealand native trees and shrubs

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Georgia Kennedy
Meike Holzenkaempfer
Monika Sharma https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3907-1784
Clemens Michael Altaner https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4542-4432


Acoustic velocity, density, Modulus of Elasticity (MoE), School of Forestry | Kura Ngahere, Wood collection, Xylarium


Background: New Zealand’s native forests are species-rich. Little information has been documented about the properties and historic uses of the lesser-utilised species. Xylaria, archives of wood samples, can be used to obtain information on timbers which are difficult to source.

Methods: Wood density and stiffness of 115 native tree species archived in the New Zealand School of Forestry | Te Kura Ngahere’s xylarium were measured and put into context with available information from literature.

Results: The range of wood density and stiffness of the New Zealand native tree species was comparable with that found globally, indicating a wide range of potential uses. 

Conclusions: Open access to wood properties of lesser-used New Zealand native tree species is essential to successfully implement New Zealand’s government policy of establishing a commercial native forestry sector. Wood density information can aid carbon accounting of native forests under the Emissions Trading Scheme. 

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