Contents

1.1 Introduction 2

1.2 Some Biomechanical Characteristics of Trees 3

1.2.1 Wood as a Lightweight, Cellular- and Fiber-Reinforced Material 3

1.2.2 Wood Variability 5

1.2.3 Mechanics of Secondary Growth 6

1.3 Biomechanical and Ecological Significance of Height 6

1.3.1 Biomechanical Environmental Constraints on Tree Height and Their Ecological Significance 7

1.3.1.1 Safety Factor 7

1.3.1.2 Analysis of Successive Shapes Occurring during Growth Due to the Continuous Increase of Supported Loads 8

1.3.2 Biomechanical Functional Traits Defined from Risk Assessment 9

1.3.2.1 Buckling or Breakage of Stems 9

1.3.2.2 Root Anchorage 9

1.3.3 Biomechanical Functional Traits and Processes Involved in

Height Growth Strategy 13

1.4 The Growth Processes That Control the Mechanical Stability of Slender Tree Stems 14

1.4.1 The Mechanical Control of Growth 14

1.4.2 The Control of Stem Orientation to Maintain or Restore the

Tree Form, and Allow Vertical Growth 16

1.4.3 The Control of Root Growth to Secure Anchorage 21

1.5 A Practical Application of Tree Biomechanics in Ecology 21

1.6 Conclusion 24

References 25

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