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This paper provides a review on the use of acoustics to measure stiffness of standing trees, stems, and logs. An outline is given of the properties of wood and how these are related to stiffness and acoustic velocity throughout the tree. Factors are described that influence the speed of sound in wood, including the different types of acoustic waves which propagate in tree stems and lumber. Acoustic tools and techniques that have been used to measure the stiffness of wood are reviewed. The reasons for a systematic difference between direct and acoustic measurements of stiffness for standing trees, and methods for correction, are discussed. Other techniques, which have been used in addition to acoustics to try to improve stiffness measurements, are also briefly described. Also reviewed are studies which have used acoustic tools to investigate factors that influence the stiffness of trees. These factors include different silvicultural practices, geographic and environmental conditions, and genetics.


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