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Anatomical Changes on Charring Six African Hardwoods

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Charcoal often retains sufficient qualitative anatomical features for the family and genus of the wood to be identified. During the charring process however, considerable and sometimes unexpected changes in quantitative characters occur, which are of particular importance to species identification and ecological wood anatomy. Comparative measurements were made using charred and uncharred trunkwood from six common southern African savanna trees. SampIes were charred for 30 minutes at either 400 or 700°C. Charcoal yield and significant quantitative changes in vessel diameter and ray cells are related both to wood anatomy and to the process of combustion. Differences observed on charring were most closely correlated with the nature and quantity of the fibres. Axial parenchyma cells expanded after charring at both temperatures.


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