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Wood properties as proxies for past climate conditions

AN 1d
Hub: Ontario and Quebec
Year: 2023-2025
Philippe Riel, MSc

Measurements at the annual ring scale allow the growth of trees to be correlated to the climatic conditions in which they grew. Historically, climate and tree growth were well correlated, but in recent decades, the correlation between the two has become less defined. In this project, we aim to test if the microfibril angle could be a more reliable indicator than ring width for characterizing past droughts. The angle of the cellulose microfibrils in the wood cell wall is an excellent indicator of certain wood properties, such as stiffness. In addition, microfibril angle is influenced by the growing conditions to which the trees are exposed. The primary objective of this research project is to evaluate the impact of drought on the microfibril angle of black spruce wood. To measure microfibril angle, we will use polarized light Raman spectroscopy on samples of Canadian boreal black spruce collected in Ontario and Quebec.

Philippe Riel, MSc at Université Laval
Main Partner: Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (Québec)
Professor: Alexis Achim

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