Longitudinal analysis of the effect of climatic factors on the wood anatomy of two eucalypt clones.
Eucalypt trees are one of tree species used for the manufacturing of papers in South Africa. The manufacturing of paper consists of cooking the wood with chemicals until obtaining a pulp. The wood is made of different cells. The shape and structure of these cells, called wood anatomical characteristics are important for the quality of paper. In addition, the anatomical characteristics of wood are influenced by environmental factors like climatic factors, soil compositions etc…. In this study we investigated the effects of the climatic factors (temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, relative humidity, and wind speed) on wood anatomical characteristics of two Eucalyptus clones, a GC (Eucalyptus grandis × camuldulensis) and a GU (Eucalyptus grandis × urophylla). Nine trees per clone have been selected. Two sets of data have been collected for this study. The first set of data was eleven anatomical characteristics of the wood formed daily over a period of five years. The second set of data was the daily measurement of temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, relative humidity and wind speed in the experimental area. Wood is made of two kinds of cell, the fibres and the vessels. The fibres are used for the strength and support of the tree and the vessels for the nutrition. Eleven characteristics related to those cells have been measured (diameter, wall thickness, frequency). These characteristics are highly correlated. To reduce the number of response variables, the principal component analysis was used and the first four principal components accounts for about 95% of the total variation. Based on the weights associated with each component the first four principal components were labelled as vessel dimension (VD), fibre dimension (FD), fibre wall (FW) and vessel frequency (VF). The longitudinal linear mixed model with age, season, temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, relative humidity and wind speed as the fixed effects factors and tree as random effect factor was fitted to the data. From time series modelling result, lagged order of climatic variables were identified and these lagged climatic variables were included in the model. To account for the physical characteristic of the trees we included the effect of diameter at breast height, stem radius, daily radial increment, and the suppression or dominance of the tree in the model. It was found that wood anatomical characteristics of the two clones were more affected by climatic variables when the tree was on juvenile stage as compared to mature stage.