Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

South West forestry for future construction

At a glance

Funding body: Great Western Research
Principal investigator: Richard Harris
Co-investigator: Martin Ansell and Pete Walker
Researcher: Jon Bawcombe
Industry partner: Woodland Renaissance
Dates: 2008-2011


The project will explore the structural properties of the South West forest estate. In parallel with work to assess the species mix, the size and age of trees (carried out by experienced foresters) the project will sample trees and seek to create statistical relationships between structural properties and tree species/size/age/growing environment.

In the South West the forests are very varied. The growing conditions, the species, the forest ownership as well as population density and forest access for recreation are all different. The primary driver – to know what makes the most valuable trees for structural use and how these can be identified - remains the same.

The objectives of the project are:

  1.  Define key wood properties for SW timber (Modulus of Elasticity (stiffness), Modulus of Rupture (strength) and Dimensional stability);
  2. To assess how site, silviculture and genetics affect the properties of structural SW timber;
  3. Determine sources and extent of variation;
  4. Benchmark the SW resource against other timber on the market;
  5. Show relationship between non-destructive test information (dynamic MoE) and wood structure/structural properties;
  6. Make recommendations for source of timber to be developed and proposals for end uses in the existing market.