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  • wolffe's law & trees

    Wolffe's Law of bone remodelling does apply to trees. The formation of
    specialized tissues to changes in forces is called "reaction wood". The
    phenomena in trees was probably known well before Wolffe's law but doen't
    appear to have been given a person's name. Humans have cultivated fruit
    trees for centuries if not millenia. Most folks have looked at sawed tree
    trunks more often than femur head cross sectional areas.

    For a nice review of the topic and other related topics, check out the
    relatively new book by Karl J. Niklas "Plant Biomechanics; an engineering
    approach to plant form and function" Univ. of Chicago Press 1992 pp.
    420-423 ISBN 0-226-58641-6

    I study animal biomechanics but I find that a read of this sort of thing
    stimulates some new ideas.

    Rodger Kram
    Human Biodynamics Dept.
    Univ. of California, Berkeley
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