Improving returns from Southern Pine plantations through innovative resource characterisation - virtual log models

Investigation and development of virtual log models for Southern Pines will be based on analysis of data from the cores, peeled billets and approximately 60 sawn logs. We plan to predict log and stem wood properties from the breast height cores taken in the field study. Following this, applied mathematics will be used to investigate the processing of these virtual logs and predict properties for the virtual boards ‘sawn’ from these logs.

The first step will be the development of a visualisation tool to generate a virtual log from the experimental data. The virtual log will accommodate the geometric features of the real log and act as a repository for all of the important physical properties indicative of wood quality and product value (density, acoustic MOE, shrinkage and spiral grain in growth rings). This  virtual log will then be used to develop and validate a mathematical model that enables predictions of whole log wood properties for other trees from only breast height cores taken in the field study. Following this, optimal processing of these virtual logs will be investigated to predict the value of virtual boards sawn from these logs. This will ultimately lead to a better understanding of potential products and performance from different parts of the Southern Pine resource and facilitate improved harvest scheduling and a better understanding of the impact of taxa, site and harvest age on plantation wood properties and product value.