Geographic variations of the wood density and fiber dimensions of the Persian oak wood
Persian oak (Quercus brantii Lindl.) is a valuable native species in Iranian forests with very limited availability of data on its wood properties. The objective of the current study was to determine the influence of altitude and slope on physical properties and fiber dimensions of Persian oak wood. In addition, the relationship among wood properties, site conditions (temperature and rainfall) and growth traits of trees (tree height, DBH, basal area, age, crown diameter, crown basal area, volume and annual diameter increment) were studied by principal component analysis (PCA). Three altitude levels (1730, 1980 and 2250 m) and three slope classes (<30%, 30–45% and >45%) were considered in the current study. It was determined that trees growing in the intermediate altitude (1980 m) showed the highest oven-dry density values, and those in the lowest altitude (1730 m) revealed the lowest ones. The results also indicate significant statistical differences between altitude levels and slope classes on the fiber length, fiber diameter and volumetric swelling at the 99% confidence interval while no significant dierences were found between average values of oven-dry density among different altitudes and slopes. PCA analysis indicated that altitude and temperature are the most important factors affecting the wood properties. Knowledge of the relationship between wood properties and environmental factors are essential in terms of both forestry management and wood applications.