Branchwood Utilization towards Mitigating Deforestation and Climate Change: A Comparison of Some Characteristics of Stemwood and Branchwood of Entandrophragma angolense across Ecological Zones
Overexploitation of tropical forest trees has been one of the main causes of deforestation and climate change. The quest to mitigate the situation has generated much interest about the need for global efficient utilization of harvested tropical wood. The present study proposes branchwood utilization to supplement stemwood using Entandrophragma angolense from two ecological zones as a case study to ascertain whether or not branchwood is comparable to its stemwood across in terms of density, some mechanical and anatomical characteristics. The study employed ISO 3131-1975 for density determination, BS 373-1957 for mechanical properties and IAWA committee protocol of 1989 for anatomical characteristics. The study was designed to cover branchwood and stemwood samples extracted from two mixed tropicalnatural forest sites. The results indicated that at 95% confidence level, branchwood exhibited significantly higher density, MOE and MOR, and similar compressive strength compared to
the stemwood but site had no significant influence on any of them. There were also significant differences (P = .000) in vessel diameter and fibre proportion of stemwood compared to the branchwood and also across the two ecological sites. It was concluded that branchwood of Entandrophragma angolense is not inferior to their stemwood to serve as supplementary materials to help reduce the rates of deforestation and climate change. The use of branchwood to augment stemwood for wood products manufacturing is recommended. Other properties such as natural durability, surface finish characteristics, shear strength etc. need to be investigated to aid policy making on branchwood utilization.