LATERAL GROWTH AFFECTS XYLEM MATURATION PROPERTIES OF 8-YEAR-OLD BIG-LEAF MAHOGANY (<em>SWIETENIA</em> <em>MACROPHYLLA</em>)
Keywords:Radial distribution pattern, b-value, diameter boundaries, fibre length, vessel length, vessel width
The area of juvenile wood zone of an 8-year-old planted big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) was uniform regardless of diameter. Hence, it was assumed that xylem maturation is dependent on diameter. Radial distribution patterns with reference from the pith exhibited short fibre and vessel lengths, narrow vessel width and low xylem density, and exhibited gradual increase outward and became more or less stable near the bark. However, the radial distribution patterns of fibre width and modulus of elasticity were scattered regardless of tree diameter sizes. Fibre length, vessel length, vessel width and xylem density of the juvenile wood zones showed significant differences compared with the transition and mature wood zones. However, no significant difference was observed between transition wood zone and mature wood zone except for fibre length. A negative correlation was observed in fibre length, vessel length, vessel width and xylem density in terms of their relationship with diameter at breast height and the radial distribution of fibre (i.e. b-value), and the diameter boundaries of the three wood zones. At diameters 18.08, 17.36, 16.23 and 17.87 cm respectively, fibre length, vessel length, vessel width and xylem density can be used to identify xylem maturation boundary.