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Strategy and technology development for a sustainanble wood and cork forestry chain

The project is divided into three main work packages.
WP 1 concentrates the work to be carried out in relation to tree growth (wood+cork), including the development of management oriented combined wood+cork growth and yield models, for which input data will be gathered from the study of environmental effects and stresses on wood and cork growth, relations and interactions between growth of wood and cork and the effects of silvicultural measures on tree growth.
WP 2 is devoted to the study of wood quality and to its industrial testing. It includes the study of wood properties and of their variability, the industrial testing in saw milling, in veneer and the study of adhesive bound components.
WP 3 will use the results of WP 1 and 2, and will develop an integrated management planning, including different management scenarios and an evaluation of the corresponding socio-economic impacts.

The objectives of this project are:
1) to maintain the socio-economic and physical sustainability of the cork-oak system and to increase its competitiveness as an integrated natural system with a more efficient use of renewable resources, by improving the technology of their use and by the adoption of novel management tools
2) to introduce another wood species into the European market for high value use.
The project will develop a growth and yield model for cork oak growth (wood and cork). The simulation of different options in a wood and cork forestry chain will be made and evaluated for socio-economics and sustainability The relevant technological properties of cork oak wood will be studied with industrial testing done in sawmills, veneer cutting and panel production, as well as its use in resin-assembled wood components.

WP1. Tree growth: modelling wood and cork growth
Analysis of environmental effects on growth of wood and cork
The experimental sites in Portugal (Rio Frio) and Spain (Hinojos and Cerro del Castillo) were used for measurement of tree radial growth based on dendrometer monitoring. Studies on phenology and crown growth were made as well as cambial wounding. Monthly measurements were made in Companhia das Lezírias (Portugal) of the stem of cork oak trees under full cork production where cork was extracted in 1991 and 2000. The annual diameter in both cork extraction cycles were compared and found to have similar variation patterns.
Analysis and modelling of relations and interactions between growth of wood and cork
The effect of cork extraction and precipitation were studied using measurements of ring width and vessel dimensions on stem discs of mature trees under full production of cork with a 9-year cycle and of young, never debarked trees. An estimate of the effect of cork removal on cork oak wood growth was made and allowed estimating of an annual reduction of wood growth (ring width) due to extraction of cork to approximately half. Analysis and modelling of the effects of silvicultural measures on crown development, tree growth and timber quality relations and interactions between growth of wood and cork
The pruning experiment was carried out in Hinojos (Spain) with different pruning intensities. The pruning biomass products were quantification and growth data from band dendrometers were obtained.Fertilization slightly increased the annual cork ring thickness following the year when fertilization was applied, although this effect vanished on the following years. Fertilization also affected diameter under cork growth. Results point to an increase of 105 kg/ha when comparing production with and without fertilization. For the influence of thinning a model was developed for individual tree diameter growth, based on an age independent approach. The user is now able to decide which factor is most important to select trees for thinning: cork quality and/or competition. The decision is used to calculate the "thinning index" for every tree, which is now simultaneously dependent on a distance dependent index and cork quality.
Development of management oriented combined wood and cork growth and yield models
The submodels related with the regeneration and juvenile stages were completed
Wood properties : quality , technology, industrial use and products
Study of wood properties and of their variability
The cork oak oak wood was characterized regarding general anatomy, cell biometry, physical properties (moisture equilibrium, density and dimensional variations), chemical composition, colour and mechanical strength and testing for natural durability.
Industrial testing of wood in saw milling
Stem analysis and 3D reconstruction of cork oak stems was done allowing for log bucking and sawing simulations. The results of natural air drying were finished and the yields for 20 cubic metre primary sawing of cork oak stems into flitches. Harvesting of 30 m3 cork oak stems for kill drying was done.
Industrial test of wood in veneer
Trees were harvested and used to produce veneer. The whole industrial process was followed and veneer sheets of good quality were obtained. Their application on plywood was made.
Study of adhesive-bound components
This task will use the material of task 2.2. after drying.
Integrated management planning
An integrated management planning system (SADGEM) was developed in connection with a database in which data describing the structure of the forested cork oak area (forest inventory data) was compiled. The data from the Spanish area (Cortes de la Frontera, Málaga), was introduced in the database. Milestones M2-M9, M11 and M13 have been attained


Scientist responsible for the project

Tapada da Ajuda
1349-017 Lisboa
Portugal - PT

Phone: +351 213634662
Fax: +351 213645000


Project ID QLRT-2000-00701
Area 5.3.2
Start date 01 November 2001
Duration (months) 48
Total cost 838 456 €
Total EC contribution   810 486 €
Status Completed

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