1.2 Forestry Terminology

so this small post is interesting regarding 3d tree generation, while forestry “science” has arguably collected biggest amount of knowledge regarding tree trunks. therefore if we know the terms they use we can much easier navigate and find info it has gathered in last hundreds of years.


Forestry, as any other science practice, has developed its own terminology and jargon. In this section, some important terms for this thesis from forestry terminology regarding tree trunk formations and defects are defined.

A crock is a formation in a branch or a trunk which is characterized by a sharp bend in the main stem. A tree trunk with a crook will most likely be as strong as one without a crook. Crooks form in trees as a part of the normal development process. Later in a tree’s development process this problem is usually corrected (Kays and Tjaden 1999).

A wolf tree is a forester’s terminology for a large and usually old tree, whose crown is well spread, with little commercial value. Yet often these trees are of great value for other forest inhabitants. Sweep is a tree trunk defect which means a gradually curve in the main stem. A snag is a dead tree which is still standing. Snags are also very important as shelters and food for the rest of an ecosystem. A fork is a tree where the main stem is divided into two or more stems. “Rot is a term used to describe a tree which is defective due to decay in part of a living tree or a log.” (Hubbard et al. 1998)

forestry terminology

Fig 7. Tree defects Picture taken from: William Hubbard, Christopher Latt, Alan Long.1998. Forest Terminology for Multiple-Use Management, Forest Terminology for Multiple-Use Management, University of Florida, and the Florida Forest Stewardship Program

You can visit my web page here

and see some “manually” modeled trees here

dont like english? u can (try) readig it in lithuanian or anny other language here! alternative, has no lithuanian :(


Chapter 1. Biological Factors To Be Considered Regarding Tree Generation

ok, so i thogt this chapter is not that inteesting to post in blog originaly, but when u think better, why not?

next couple of posts will talk about tree and its biology. And most importantly tree diseases and things that affect tree look. Basically all stuff that makes trees visually interesting and which are not simulated in tree generators.



When considering Virtual Tree Generation, it is important to understand what is the biological nature of a tree. In this chapter, important biological elements and processes related to trees will be discussed, which are important in some way for tree modeling.

1.1 Tree

A Tree is a woody plant and its’ main trunk is usually

un branched. Usually a tree is divided into three major parts those are the crown, trunk and the roots. The crown consists of branches, twigs, and leaves.

Trees do not heal their injured tissues; instead the cells of injured tissues change and become a barrier for diseases and further decay. The layers of new tree tissues usually cover a wound. The changed wood tissue is called a “reaction zone”. In many tree species it is easy to recognize, this wood as it is often darker in color compared to healthy wood tissue (Whiting et al. 2005).

A trunk is commonly defined as the main stem of a plant which serves as a support for leaves and a connection with the roots. The trunk also serves as a water storage tank, for example in the case of baobab trees. Water and minerals collected through roots are then transmitted through the trunk to the leaves. The trunk itself consists of two main types of wood. The Xylem is a supporting wood, and Phloem is wood for water transportation (Whiting et al. 2005).

tree structure
tree structure

Fig 4.Wood layer structures. Picture taken from: David Whiting, Robert Cox, and Carol O’Meara; 2005. Tree Growth and Decay. GardenNotes #611.

The bark of a tree serves as a protective layer from different types of damage and the Phloem is a tissue beneath the bark. The main purpose of the Phloem layer is to transport sugars and carbohydrates produced by leaves and to feed the roots. Xylem is a wood tissue which acts as a supporting material for the whole tree.

Wood which grows at the beginning of summer is used for water transportation inside the tree. If enlarged, its structure remains tubular in its shape, while tree tissue which grown at the end of summer is much more dense in its structure and serves as a support material for the overall tree (Whiting et al. 2005).

The “reaction zone“ does not always stop decay. Decay can easily advance in Xylem wood tissue which grows in early summer and serves as a water transportation system inside a tree. If the reaction zone would stop decay effectively, it would also plug Xylem tubes. As a result, the water supply inside a tree would be compromised and the tree would die (Whiting et al. 2005).

inside of tree
inside of tree

Fig 5. Decay creates a hole in the center of a tree. The darker area is a reaction zone. Picture taken from: David Whiting, Robert Cox, and Carol O’Meara; 2005. Tree Growth and Decay. GardenNotes #611.

When the wall of a trunk has a hole which leads to empty space in the center of the trunk, the tree becomes coincidentally weaker, and is considered hazardous. Tree holes are candidates for many flora and fauna species to use as a home.

Such inhabitants usually contribute to wood decay, and the death of the tree. Holes are sometimes filled with rainwater, which makes rotting possible. (Forest Resources Extension)

tre ee hole
tre ee hole

Figure 6. The strength of a tree is strongly reduced by a hole. Picture taken from: David Whiting, Robert Cox, and Carol O’Meara; 2005. Tree Growth and Decay. GardenNotes #611.

There are two main types of trees according to how new layers of wood grow. The first is “Exogenous” which are trees that grow outwards; meaning each year a new row of wood is being placed on the outside of the existing trunk beneath the bark. The other type is called “Endogenous” which, unlike the “Exogenous”, places new layers inside the trunk.

While most trees belong to the Exogenous category, others like Palms, Dragon trees and Cacti grow by extending themselves from inside. Usually each new layer of wood grows in one year, but that strongly depends on rain periods. A growth layer which is produced in one season is called an “Annual Ring” (Bodirlau et al. 2007). By counting the annual rings of a tree one can determine the trees age. The science of tree age determination is called “Dendrochronology.” Some trees in deserts might have a new layer after each rain season, which is not necessarily regular, and some trees may produce two layers of wood a year. In tropical areas where it is always wet, the annual rings on trees might be not seen at all.


You can visit my web page here

and see some “manually” modeled trees here

dont like english? u can (try) readig it in lithuanian or anny other language here! alternative, has no lithuanian :(