Hibernation or spring awakening? – The research on wood durability and protection in marine environment

IRG/WP 18-10929

A Treu, K Zimmer, C Brischke, E Larnøy, L R Gobakken, F Aloui, S M Cragg, P-O Flæte, M Humar, M Westin

Wooden structures in marine applications are exposed to severe degradation conditions caused by mechanical loads and wood degrading organisms. The present paper presents the use of wood in marine environments in Europe from a wood protection perspective and gives an overview over relevant research topics. It compiles the most relevant literature with an emphasis on new wood protection methods and discusses the need for research and potential solutions. Traditionally, wood has been extensively utilized in many marine applications due to wood’s great flexibility in design, low costs and easy repair. The use of wood in marine environments has diminished during the last decades, mainly because of restrictions on the use of effective wood preservatives against marine wood borers. Potential effects caused by migration of different wood borer species into new regions due to global warming are discussed. Although there is a strong need for developing new protection systems for wood in marine applications, the research in this field has been scarce for many years. New attempts to protect wood used in marine environments in Europe have mainly focused on wood modification and the use of mechanical barriers to prevent colonization of marine wood borers. The importance of understanding the mechanisms of settlement, boring and digestion of the degrading organisms is a key for developing effective systems for protecting wood in marine environments. Furthermore, the paper presents a research initiative on wood protection in marine environments which has recently been started in Norway.

Keywords: marine wood-borers, Use class 5, coast line protection, Limnoria spp., Teredo spp.

Conference: 18-04-29/05-03 Johannesburg, South Africa

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