Research on the scientific basis for grouping wood species in Vietnam

Do Van Ban

Forest Plant Resources Research Division (FPRRD)

Forest Science Institute of Vietnam (FSIV)

The temporary grouping table for wood species in Vietnam was enforced in 1977 by the Ministry of Forestry as summarizing the grouping table of wood species in Southern Vietnam. For Northern Vietnam, Decree 10-CP of the Vietnamese regime issued in 1964 applies. The temporary wood species grouping table 1977 listed a total of 362 wood species. Since enforcing the temporary grouping table has became a useful and important guideline for all activities in forest management, forest exploitation, using, processing, conservation and trading of wood in Vietnam. It is a very important base for tax levying on wood. Nowadays, the social and economic conditions in Vietnam have changed, thus this temporary grouping table is no longer suitable. In 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development decided to renew the grouping table based on results of scientific research on wood in Vietnam.

This task has been done in order to find out the scientific basis for a suitable grouping of wood species in Vietnam. The appropriate methods were selected; which were to study all relevant documents on wood grouping in Vietnam, especially the drafts on wood grouping by Nguyen Dinh Hung (1977 and 1995) and the systems used by other countries, and to organization workshops as well as collecting suggestion by experts.

The result of this study affirmed that wood grouping action in Vietnam is still necessary and in principle wood grouping has to be based on natural characteristics; of which density is the basic criterion. The grouping process also has to have sub-criteria such as strength, anatomical characteisticss, natural durability, natural defects and working ability, drying ability and treatment ability. Additional criteria such as trends and demands, wood usability, wood prices and supplying ability of forests also have to be considered. The wood grouping based on wood density at 12% moisture content accepted as the international criteria for tropical woods and according to this woods are divided into five groups. Addionally, other criteria and sub-criteria such as the compression strength parallel to grain and ultimate bending strength perpendicular to grain are helpful for deciding the right groupings. Some wood species are very valuable and only used for special purposes will be ordered into a special group. Thus wood species are divided into 6 groups.

The study has supported the fundamental principles for a scientifically based wood grouping. The regrouping of wood species has reduced the number of groups from 8 according to the temporary grouping table to only 6 in new grouping table. This conforms with the international trend and is easy to apply.

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