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Natural durability of Douglas fir ( Pseudotsuga menziesii[Mirb.] Franco) heartwood grown in southern Germany

The natural durability of timber is an important property in order to assess its performance in service. For numerous species grown in primary forests, this property has already been determined. As plantation-grown timber becomes more and more important, detailed information on its properties is needed, because increasing amounts of this material are coming to the market. The majority of planted Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco) in Germany is around 40 years old. In the present study, representative material of totally ten trees from two different sites in the south of Germany was investigated with regard to natural durability. In laboratory tests based on European standard DIN EN 350-1, inner and outer heartwood zones were exposed to basidiomycetes. Density measurements were additionally used for further characterisation of this material. Results showed a lower durability of the plantation-grown Douglas fir wood as compared with wood from natural sites. Significant differences for both durability and density were found between inner and outer heartwood, even though no correlation between the parameters was recognised. Data illustrate that for a better understanding of durability variations, chemical, topochemical and electron microscopic studies are needed.



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