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Wood characterization must be done in huge populations of Eucalyptus breeding programs in order to efficiently select potential trees. In this study, Eucalyptus benthamii wood was non-destructively characterized and the performance of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy in estimating the wood basic density, lignin, extractive, glucose, xylan contents and total carbohydrates was evaluated. NIR models for wood traits were performed from 481 trees from E. benthamii progeny test (4-year-old)managed for pulp cultivated in Santa Catarina state, Southern Brazil. Increment cores were sampled for chemical and physical characterization in laboratory, as well as for NIR spectroscopy analyses. Three 350 samples were selected from PCA for model calibrations whereas 131 were reserved for independent test validation. The E. benthamii wood presented the standards required for Kraft pulp processing. The predictive NIR models showed satisfactory ability for estimating the chemical properties of wood. The prediction models for total lignin, extractive, glucose and xylan contents and total carbohydrates showed coefficients of determination of 0.53, 0.65, 0.10 and 0.36 and 0.53, with RPD values for these traits ranging from 1.3 to 2.3. The predictive model for basic density presented low coefficient of determination (0.13), but showed a RMSEP (root mean square error of prediction) of 0.023 g cm-³, and RPD was 1.4, suggesting that these models can be applied only for ranking genetic material selection, as the errors are considered low. Thus, NIR spectroscopy can potentially be applied in breeding programs, as it enables an early, non-destructive selection of trees with adequate physical and chemical properties for pulp production process.