Tropical tree wood density is often related to other species-specific functional traits, e.g. size, growth rate and mortality. We would therefore expect significant associations within tropical forests between the spatial distributions of stand-level wood density and micro-environments when interspecific variation in wood density is larger than intraspecific variation and when habitat-based species assembly is important in the forest. In this study, we used wood cores collected from 515 trees of 72 species in a 15-ha plot in northern Thailand to analyse intra- and interspecific variation in wood density and the spatial association of stand-level wood density. Intraspecific variation was lower than interspecific variation (20% vs. 80% of the total variation), indicating that species-specific differences in wood density, rather than phenotypic plasticity, are the major source of variation in wood density at the study site. Wood density of individual species was significantly negatively related to maximum diameter, growth rate of sapling diameter and mortality of saplings. Stand-level mean wood density was significantly negatively related to elevation, slope convexity, sapling growth rate and sapling mortality, and positively related to slope inclination. East-facing slopes had significantly lower stand-level mean wood densities than west-facing slopes. We hypothesized that ridges and east-facing slopes in the study forest experience strong and frequent wind disturbance, and that this severe impact may lead to faster stand turnover, creating conditions that favour fast-growing species with low wood density.