Mapping the biotic degradation hazard of wood in Europe – biophysical background, engineering applications, and climate change-induced prospects

Philip B. Van Niekerk, Brendan N. Marais, Christian Brischke, Luisa M. S. Borges, Magdalena Kutnik, Jonas Niklewski, David Ansard, Miha Humar, Simon Cragg, Holger Militz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Wood building culture has seen a resurgence in light of global climate mitigation policies. Wood is a renewable resource, and engineered wood products are proving to be competitive against concrete and steel while having several advantages. However, while the renewable nature of wood in construction is a beneficial property for climate mitigation policies, the process of biodegradation introduces a challenge for service life planning. A review of hazard mapping is presented while developing contemporary hazard maps, occurrence maps and projected hazard maps for 2050 using representative concentration pathways (RCP) 2.6 and 8.5. The risk of timber decay is expected to increase in most of Europe as the temperatures rise, with a decrease expected in dryer regions. Termites are likely to experience a range expansion as more areas become suitable, while human activity and an increase in extreme weather events like floods are expected to facilitate dispersion. Marine borer species already present a risk in most European coastal regions; however, the effect of changes in water temperatures are likely to shift the boundaries for individual borer species. Overall, warmer climates are expected to increase the metabolic activity of all of these organisms leading to a general reduction in service life.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHolzforschung
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 20 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • decay risk
  • fungi
  • exposure model
  • marine borers
  • Scheffer Climate Index (SCI)
  • service life predicition
  • termites

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