Anatomical and Physico-mechanical Characterization of Narra (Pterocarpus indicus Willd.) Branchwood Collected in Mount Makiling Forest Reserve, Laguna, Philippines
Rosalie C. Mendoza1*, Vivian C. Daracan1, Ronniel D. Manalo1,
Chelle Hennessy R. Batallones1, Kisses G. Jaurigue2,
Arlene D. Romano1, and Willie P. Abasolo1
1Department of Forest Products and Paper Science, College of Forestry
and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños,
College, Los Baños, Laguna 4031 Philippines
2MSA Academic Advancement Institute, Esteban cor. Dela Rosa,
Legazpi Village, Makati City 1229 Philippines
The properties of narra (Pterocarpus indicus Willd.) branchwood collected from Mount Makiling Forest Reserve (MMFR), Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines were studied. These branchwood properties were also compared with narra stemwood’s experimental and published properties. Core samples of stemwood were taken for anatomical characterization while branchwood samples were taken for anatomical (area percentage of fiber and parenchyma cells, fiber morphology, and computation of fiber indices), physical (moisture content, density, specific gravity, and shrinkage), and mechanical (static bending and compressive strength) analysis. Results showed that narra branchwood exhibits similar anatomical features to narra stemwood. Branchwood, however, has smaller pores, abundant inclusions, and less distinct storied arrangement of wood rays than stemwood. The area percentage of fiber cells is higher in stemwood while parenchyma percentage is higher in branchwood. Fiber dimensions appeared to be statistically the same for stemwood and branchwood, except for fiber length. Computed fiber indices of narra branchwood are also within the standard value ranges. In terms of mean density and specific gravity at 12% moisture content of the branchwood were 0.70 g/cm3 and 0.66, respectively. Mean tangential, radial, and longitudinal shrinkages were 3.59%, 3.37%, and 0.6%, respectively; while volumetric shrinkage was about 6.35%. The static bending properties of branchwood were not different from stemwood. The mean modulus of elasticity and modulus of rupture were 9.92 GPa and 96.59 MPa, respectively. On the other hand, the compressive strength parallel to the grain was lower at 32.64 MPa. Thus, narra branchwood may be used as a substitute for narra stemwood in various uses such as for high-grade furniture and cabinetry, musical instruments, pulp and paper, production of novelty items, and wood parquet.
Wood is one of the most used renewable raw materials and the main source of livelihood of the people belonging to the forest products sector. As a structural material, wood can be used in many forms of construction. In the Philippines, the demand for wood and other timber products has increased over the years. Guiang (2001) stated that several studies show that the existing domestic wood supply from natural and plantation forests is insufficient to meet the increasing domestic demand.
The timber industry has a significant contribution to the national economy, but its operation is not sustainable. Material wastage is one of the major problems of the timber industry. It is reported that nearly 50% of the tree volume is left in the forest to decay. These are in the form of branches, crown wood, and stumps (Adam et al. 1993, as cited by Okai et al. 2003). Hence, there is a continuous effort to explore the utilization of other sources of wood to sustainably meet the soaring demand for timber and other forest products. The utilization of branchwood of high-value forest crops (HVFC) could be one of the potential sources of wood raw materials and could be used as an alternative to stemwood. Unfortunately, limited studies have been reported on the properties of HVFC utilized in the Philippines. . . . read more
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