Wood chemical components and decay resistance of four common mongolian softwoods

To utilize wood resources in Mongolia, amounts of wood chemical components (hot-water extracts, 1% NaOH extracts, ethanol-toluene extracts, holocellulose, -, -, and -cellulose, Klason lignin, and ash) were determined in four common Mongolian softwoods, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus sibirica, Picea obovata, and Larix sibirica. In addition, decay resistance of heartwood was evaluated against a white-rot fungus Trametes versicolor, and a brown-rot fungus Formitopsis palustris. Among the four species, heartwood of Larix sibirica was chemically characterized by higher amounts of hot-water and 1% NaOH extracts, and lower amounts of holocellulose and Klason lignin. These characteristics may be related to the presence of arabinogalactan which is easily extracted with cold water. Mean mass loss in each softwood ranged from 6.9% to 28.1% in white-rot fungus, and from 24.8% to 48.3% in brown-rot fungus. Among four species, Pinus sibirica showed the highest decay resistance against both fungi. By the linear mixed-effects model analysis, negative relationships were found between mass loss and amounts of extracts in heartwood, suggesting that heartwood having larger amounts of extracts showed higher natural decay durability.

Drying performance of a direct-fired kiln developed in Mongolia

Smoke drying by means of a direct-fired kiln is considered to be one of the most cost-effective methods of drying lumber. In the present study, Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) lumber was dried using a direct-fired kiln developed in Mongolia. When approximately 500 kg of sawdust was used as fuel, the maximum and mean temperatures in the kiln were 78.2°C and 54.2°C for the lower side, respectively, while they were 70.4°C and 50.1°C for the upper side, respectively. The temperature inside the kiln was above 60°C for a duration of about 40 to 50 hours. The moisture content of the lumber decreased from 56.4% to 23.2%. No significant differences in terms of the mechanical properties were found between air- and smoke-dried wood. Based on these results it appears that the direct-fired kiln developed in Mongolia is useful for the low-cost drying of Siberian larch lumber, although improvements to the kiln and a prolonged drying schedule are needed in order to obtain more dried lumber.