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Anatomical changes induced by fire-damaged cambium in two native tree species of the Chaco Region, Argentina

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This study examined anatomical responses to fire damage of the cambium in Schinopsis lorentzii and Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco. Bole cross sections were extracted from specimens with external signs of fire damage. Samples were taken from zones designated normal, discoloured and wound altered. The vessel, fibre, axial and ray parenchyma percentages, tangential vessel diameter, vessels per mm2, rays per mm, and ray width and height of these zones were compared. Fire scars and fire marks were identified on cross sections of S. lorentzii and A. quebracho-blanco. The fire marks reflect minor wounds that did not affect wood formation. The fire scars, on the other hand, are the result of wounds that interrupted cambial activity thus affecting the shape of the bole and causing discolouration of pre-existing wood adjacent to wounds. The wood formed after fire damage included callus, barrier zones at fire scar edges and the formation of ribs of wound wood. The wound altered zone was characterised by a decrease in the percentage of vessels and fibres, an increase in the percentage of axial parenchyma, the formation of grouped rays, a decrease in vessel tangential diameter, and occurrence of fibres with atypical structure. Disorientation in the axial xylem system was observed in the barrier zone. The anatomical responses to cambium damage and formation of discoloured wood and woundwood ribs suggest that wood quality and utilisable volume of bole in the studied species is affected by fire.


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