What is it about?

The global timber market greatly relies on studies to assess the quality of various wood species. However, not many studies have covered tropical wood species from the Amazon rainforest. To get realistic information about the durability of Amazonian wood species, the authors of a 2021 study examined 20 different species over 30 years. Untreated heartwood samples along with the ones preserved with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) were half-buried in soil and tested every year for the level of deterioration. Based on the in-ground tests, seven species were classified as non-durable, six as perishable, three as durable, and four as very durable. The study also revealed that CCA preservation improved the resistance of the timber against climatic factors by up to 30 times when compared to the untreated wood.

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Why is it important?

For centuries, wood has been used for constructing structures like houses and bridges. Wood has a natural ability to resist biodeterioration against elements of weather and organisms. This inherent property depends on genetic factors, anatomical properties, and chemical composition and varies from one species to another. The durable ones are used as they are but the others require treatment. The carbon footprint of wood-based products plays a significant role in influencing carbon storage and greenhouse emissions. The key to making them greener is choosing more durable wood species. The uncertainties and lack of information around the natural resistance of wood is a major concern when it comes to their application as timber for construction. KEY TAKEAWAY: Proper information about the wood's natural durability is important for choosing preservation products and predicting the in-service duration and life cycle of wooden structures. The extensive study of Amazonian wood species provided adequate information regarding its natural durability and preferred method of preservation.

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This page is a summary of: Natural durability and improved resistance of 20 Amazonian wood species after 30 years in ground contact, Holzforschung, April 2021, De Gruyter, DOI: 10.1515/hf-2020-0192.
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