ENFO327-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024

Wood Science

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


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 (Washing Accord 1,2; UC EEI3)
Understand the key factors determining wood properties (WA1, EEI3)
Be aware of the challenges and opportunities caused by the enormous variability of wood properties (WA2: EEI3, BiCC3)
Have practical experience in assessing wood properties (WA1, 2; EEI3)
Be able to present scientific and technical topics in seminar and written formats (WA2; EEI2, 3)

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Biculturally competent and confident

Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to approval of the Director of Studies, Forest Engineering


Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 13:00 - 15:00 Jack Erskine 340
15 Jul - 25 Aug
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 15:00 A6 Lecture Theatre
15 Jul - 25 Aug
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 13:00 - 15:00 A4 Lecture Theatre
15 Jul - 25 Aug
Computer Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 13:00 - 17:00 Forestry 252 Computer Lab
15 Jul - 21 Jul
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 13:00 - 17:00 Forestry 152 (25/7-8/8)
Rehua 002 Lectorial (15/8)
22 Jul - 18 Aug
Lab C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 13:00 - 17:00 Rehua 002 Lectorial
19 Aug - 25 Aug


Clemens Altaner


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Lab Report 10%
Written Report 20%
Oral Presentation 20%
Mid-Semester 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 $1,059.00

International fee $6,000.00

* 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

  • ENFO327-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024