ENFO327-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Wood Science

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


A key management objective of forestry is the production of wood. The course provides the student with an understanding of the chemical and biological basis of the material properties of wood, how forestry can control these and the concept of wood quality. Reference will be made to how wood properties determine the suitability of a timber resource for certain wooden products.

Wood is unique in its material properties when compared to competing materials like steel, plastics or concrete. The difference is caused by its highly complex molecular and supra-molecular structure.

The course focuses on the chemical, biological and physical phenomena encountered when trying to understand the behavior of wood as a material. Starting on the molecular scale, the chemical composition and ultrastructure of the woody cell wall will be explored followed by the biological processes responsible for the unique anatomy of wood from individual species. The chemical and biological aspects are essential to understanding the physical properties of wood such as strength and stiffness, as well as the interaction of wood with water. Finally, wood quality under the above-mentioned premises is considered and implications for silviculture and forest management are discussed.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will:

• Know the biological and chemical processes giving rise to the properties of wood
• Understand the key factors determining wood properties
• Be aware of the challenges and opportunities caused by the enormous variability of wood properties
• Relate wood properties to the wood quality required by the wood processing industry
• Have practical experience in assessing wood properties
• Be able to present scientific and technical topics in seminar and written formats


Subject to approval of the Director of Studies, Forest Engineering



Clemens Altaner


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Lab Report 10%
Written Report 20%
Oral Presentation 20%
Mid-Semester Test 50%

Assessment comprises:

Specialist Report (20%)
Laboratory Assignments (10%)
Oral Presentation (20%)
Term Test (50%)

Textbooks / Resources

Additional reference material will be available on the course Learn page.


Stout footwear is essential for industrial visits and work in laboratories.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $975.00

International fee $5,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Forestry .

All ENFO327 Occurrences

  • ENFO327-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020