Heartwood and sapwood development within maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) stems

Isabel Pinto (Corresponding Author), Helena Pereira, Arto Usenius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Heartwood and sapwood development in maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) is reported based on 35 trees randomly sampled in four sites in Portugal. It was possible to model the number of heartwood rings with cambial age. The heartwood initiation age was estimated to be 13 years and the rate of sapwood transformation into heartwood was 0.5 and 0.7 rings year−1 for ages below and above 55 years, respectively. Reconstruction of heartwood volume inside the tree stem was made by visual identification by image analysis in longitudinal boards along the sawn surfaces. This volume was integrated into the 3D models of logs and stems developed for this species representing the external shape and internal knots. Heartwood either follows the stem profile or shows a maximum value at 3.8 m in height, on average, while sapwood width is greater at the stem base and after 3 m remains almost constant up the stem. Up to 50% of tree height heartwood represents 17% of stem volume, in 83-year-old trees and 12–13% in 42 to 55-year-old trees. Tree variables such as stem diameter, DBH and tree total height were found to correlate significantly with the heartwood content.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-294
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • pine
  • maritime pine
  • Pinus pinaster
  • heartwood
  • sapwood
  • growth rings


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