Radial variation in wood properties of nedun (Pericopsis mooniana), an introduced species to South India.
The physical, anatomical and mechanical properties of a timber species determine wood quality; hence, its evaluation is a prerequisite for the establishment of commercial plantations of a species having high potential for various end uses. Pericopsis mooniana (Thwaites) Thwaites wood has apparent similarity and even superior wood quality than teak, particularly as structural timber. Due to the dwindling timber resource base, large scale cultivation of this species should be enhanced through introduction to other suitable ecoclimatic conditions of the world. This study attempts to quantify the variation in wood physical, chemical and mechanical properties of P. mooniana introduced to Nilambur in Kerala, South India and the relationship among wood quality parameters. For this purpose, three trees were randomly selected from Aruvakkode, Nilambur located in Malappuram district of Kerala and standard tests of wood physical, mechanical and anatomical properties were conducted. Results indicated that the P. mooniana logs had bark thickness of 2.93 mm, heartwood content of 75.24% and a sawn wood recovery of 54.32%. Radial variation from pith to periphery was obvious among wood physical and anatomical properties. Physico-mechanical properties were correlated with anatomical properties. The specific gravity was linearly related to fibre wall thickness. No significant predictions could be made linking anatomical and mechanical property variables. Most of the wood quality parameters were higher compared to Tectona grandis (teak) and there is every possibility of using it as a substitute for teak.