An Evaluation of Wood and Pulp Quality of Kenyan Grown Pinus Patula for Kraft Papers

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Chikamai, B.
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Four plantations of Pinus patula within the pulp wood area and ranging in age from 12 to 18 years were sampled for wood and pulp quality studies. A random sample of 5 trees was obtained from each plantation and bolts of 1 m length were removed at 5 height levels to a merchantable 8 cm over bark diameter. Discs of 20 mm thickness were extracted from each tree for wood and fibre property determination and the rest converted to chips and then cooked in duplicate by Kraft process. Pulp from each sample and cook was prepared into hand sheets at 3 levels of C.S.F. and pulp strength tests were performed. Pulp yield and strength showed direct relationship with age of the plantations whereas an inverse relationship was observed among the other hand sheet properties. It was concluded that morphology of the fibres, particularly those that influence their coarseness and stiffness play a greater role on tear properties of paper while breaking length, stretch, burst factor, and folding strength of paper are influenced more by fibre behaviour effects like collapse and bonding. With the present mill conditions, a rotation age of 18 years produces only some papers that meet the standard specifications. Reducing rotation age under such conditions would aggravate the problem of pulp quality. Genetic improvement of wood quality may be a solution to lower rotation age. In the meantime, processing conditions will require to be examined further if an improvement of the quality of papers being produced is to be achieved.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 53 (No 1,2), pp. 13-18