The lecture Wood structure and function conveys basic knowledge on the microstructure of softwoods and hardwoods as well as general and species-specific relationships between growth processes, wood properties and wood function in the living tree.
Learning target is a basic understanding of the anatomy of wood and the related impact of endogenous and exogenous factors. The students can learn how to distinguish common central European wood species at the macroscopic and microscopic level. A deeper insight will be given by wood identification exercises for softwood species. Further the students will gain insight into the relationships between tree growth and wood properties with a specific focus on the wood function in the living tree.
In an introduction to wood anatomy, the general structural features of softwoods and hardwoods will be explained and factors of diversity and variability will be discussed. A specific focus is laid on common central European tree species with relevance in the wood sector, which will be studied in macro-and microstructural investigations. For softwoods, exercises for the identification of species will be conducted. In the following, relationships between wood structure, properties and function in the living tree will be in the focus of the lecture. Topics covered are mechanical stability and water transport, branches, reaction wood formation (compression wood, tension wood), spiral growth, growth stresses as well as adaptive growth of trees.