University of Tasmania

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An assessment of in-field nondestructive testing methods for detection of internal defects in standing live trees

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 14:02 authored by Mohammad Sadegh Taskhiri, Hafezi, MH, Damien HollowayDamien Holloway, Paul TurnerPaul Turner
Harvesting trees that contain internal defects such as knots and cracks are neither financially nor environmentally sustainable. In hardwood plantations, it is impossible to produce sawlogs from knotty or cracked timber. The challenge is to identify internal defects in a timely and cost-effective manner prior to harvesting. The aim of this paper is to investigate non-destructive testing (NDT) methods to rapidly detect the presence of internal defects in standing live trees in plantation plots. The study highlights that whilst several methods exist, few have been actively applied in-field harvesting operations to optimise log handling and to increase transportation efficiencies. Key constraints are portability of the NDT equipment for use in-field, speed versus accuracy of measurements undertaken and the usability of different evaluation approaches for decision-support. In this paper, the field assessment involved using two non-destructive techniques, ground penetrating radar (GPR) and ultrasonics that use electromagnetic and ultrasonic sound waves respectively to penetrate the internal structure of standing trees. These assessment techniques can assist forest growers to more accurately evaluate the quality of growing stems in the field. They also open the opportunity to investigate differences across a wide selection of growing conditions and forest types to generate data that may support the generation of a software algorithm for predictive imputation of likely internal defect rates within particular forests and under particular growing conditions. The plan being to integrate this predictive imputation software into existing geographical information systems owned by industry partners to enable accurate mapping of land areas where high ratios of defects are likely to be detected to further optimise infield harvesting.


Publication title

Proceedings of SPIE 10972: Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems XIII




P Fromme






School of Information and Communication Technology


International Society for Optics and Photonics

Place of publication


Event title

SPIE 10972

Event Venue

Denver, Colorado

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2019 SPIE

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Logistics; Hardwood plantations; Forest product traceability and quality assurance