Mitigating the risk of drought-induced stem cracks in conifers in a changing climate

Andrew D. Cameron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely accepted that climate change will see an increase in the frequency and intensity of drought events that will inevitably impact on the commercially-important coniferous forests in Western Europe. Of particular concern is the likely increase in the incidence of drought-induced, radial-longitudinal stem cracks that will have serious consequences for forest health and wood structural properties. This paper reviews the existing knowledge on drought-induced stem cracking in coniferous species. It summarises the current impact of drought on coniferous forests and predicted future impacts of a changing climate. Available information on the mechanism of radial splitting and the role of wood properties in this process is examined. It also considers the influence of soil properties on the development of drought stress within trees associated with stem cracking. The final part of the review discusses the knowledge gaps and suggestions for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-672
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number8
Early online date21 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Climate change
  • coniferous species
  • drought damage
  • stem cracks
  • tangential shrinkage


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