Forest Products News

The Urban Wood Toolkit available to communities

Are you looking to find the highest and best use for removed urban and community trees? The Urban Wood Toolkit is here to assist in developing a marketing and utilization strategy for communities to reduce costs and to connect communities with local forest products manufacturers to grow economic opportunities.

Continue reading “The Urban Wood Toolkit available to communities”

Biochar: An Emerging Market for Underutilized Woody Biomass

By Sabina Dhungana, Forest Products Specialist

biochar sample

This is a sample of biochar produced from coarse woody biomass.

What is Biochar?
Biochar is a pure carbon product made from organic material that is generally produced through a process called pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is the decomposition of organic matter at elevated temperatures in an environment with limited oxygen.

Biochar Production and Opportunities for Wood Businesses
Biochar can be produced using woody biomass such as wood chips, sawdust, shavings or bark that is generated from timber harvesting or as a by-product of wood products manufacturing.

Biochar production systems can be classified as either pyrolysis or gasification systems. The pyrolysis of biomass results in three main products: a solid (bio-char), a liquid (bio-oil), and a gas (syngas). Furthermore, pyrolysis becomes self-sustaining as syngas that is produced combusts, generating additional heat for the production process. Gasification on the other hand produces smaller quantities of biochar in a directly-heated reaction vessel with introduced air. Although pyrolysis systems result in higher concentrations of biochar, both production systems can be developed as mobile or stationary units as per the need and availability of the feedstock. Continue reading “Biochar: An Emerging Market for Underutilized Woody Biomass”

Primary mill mapping tool released

By Collin Buntrock, Forest Products Team Leader

The Forest Products Services program recently worked with the Technology Services Section in the Division of Forestry to develop an interactive mapping tool highlighting Wisconsin’s primary wood-using mills.

The new mill mapping tool highlights Wisconsin’s primary mills.

The goal of the mapping tool is to facilitate better marketing of forest products by connecting value-added industries with Wisconsin’s primary mills and by assisting forest managers and loggers with identifying markets for harvested timber. Mill data can be refined by county, species processed, products utilized, and products sold and then downloaded for later reference.

Wisconsin’s primary forest products industry consists of firms that manufacture logs and pulpwood into wood and paper products. Specific examples include sawmills, veneer plants, pulp mills and firewood processors, as well as companies that manufacture products such as composite panels (e.g. oriented strand board, particleboard), shavings, utility poles, wood pellets, and log buildings.

Mill data featured in this tool is collected by Forest Products Services staff as part of the USDA Timber Product Output survey. The FPS program will refine this dataset beginning in early 2019. It should be noted that a subset of mills opted-out of the mill dataset. Therefore, you may be aware of additional mills that are not included in the mapping tool.

If you know of a business that would like to be included in this mapping tool, please send an email to a staff member on the Forest Products Services team and include their contact information, species and products utilized, and products produced.

Markets growing for urban wood across Wisconsin

By Scott Lyon, Forest Products Specialist

Many communities have expressed greater interest in local goods and services over the last few years; as a result, urban wood recycling efforts have increased in Wisconsin. The increase of trees killed by invasive insects and disease caused many municipalities to seek alternative uses for urban wood rather than disposing material in a landfill. Recent efforts to market this growing source of material and develop ways to recycle urban trees within communities led Wisconsin to become one of the leading states in urban wood utilization.

Live edge walnut slab table at a Milwaukee based business.

Throughout the state, markets have started to grow; at least 30 companies are producing products made from urban wood. The City of Milwaukee cut their disposal costs in half by sending their street tree removals to Kettle Moraine Hardwoods and Bay View Lumber. Consumers are drawn to urban wood for its unique character appearance that enhances its use in furniture, cabinets, flooring, millwork, wall and ceiling panels. Urban wood can now be found in large scale projects such as ceiling and wall panels at the new Milwaukee Bucks Arena, and apartment and business buildings in Milwaukee. In both Milwaukee and Madison, the hobbyist wood worker can find urban wood lumber and live edge slabs at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Urban wood manufacturers have noted an increase in demand for live edge slabs for use in tables, desks and countertops.

Demand for urban wood has increased not only in Milwaukee and Madison, but across the state in other communities such as Green Bay, Appleton, and Eau Claire. In Eau Claire, urban wood is making some noise (literally) after repurposing in the manufacture of guitars. In addition, the City of Eau Claire has partnered with some Wisconsin Urban Wood members to produce furniture and specialty products. Wisconsin Urban Wood is the brand that assures consumers that the wood originated from Wisconsin’s community forests and passed through an entire supply of Wisconsin-based business to arrive as the final product.

However, a need still exists to help end-consumers and other users, such architects, interior designers, and engineers, understand the benefits and value of using wood and overcome perceived barriers. Wood is a renewable resource as opposed to substitute non-renewable products such as concrete, steel, and plastics.

For more information on urban wood use or to find an urban wood user in your area please visit Wisconsin Urban Wood or the Urban Wood Network.

White Pine Lumber Grading Course Offered

The Northcentral Technical College Wood Technology Program is hosting a white pine lumber grading workshop in partnership with the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturer Association (NELMA), and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This workshop will provide an in-depth review of softwood lumber grading, specifically for Eastern White Pine. In a mix of classroom and hands-on activities, participants will gain valuable skills and experience in grading lumber.

This workshop will be held on February 21-22, 2019 at the NTC Wood Technology Center of Excellence in Antigo, WI. If you are interested in attending this course, please visit NTC’s Conferences and Seminars webpage for additional information and the registration form.

Upcoming Forest Products Events

LSLA 2019 Winter Meeting
Date: January 16-18, 2019
Location: Appleton, WI

Custom Chair Design and Construction
Date: January 19 – February 3, 2019
Location: Antigo, WI

Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association Convention & Exposition
Date: February 4-6, 2019
Location: Indianapolis, IN

White Pine Lumber Grading Course
Date: February 21-22, 2019
Location: Antigo, WI

Wisconsin Local-Use Dimension Lumber Grading Workshop
Date: February 26, 2019
Location: Fitchburg, WI

Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association Spring Celebration
Date: April 12, 2019
Location: Green Bay, WI

Markets growing for urban wood across Wisconsin

Written by Scott Lyon, Forest Products Specialist

Many communities have expressed greater interest in local goods and services over the last few years; as a result urban wood recycling efforts have increased in Wisconsin. The increase of trees killed by invasive insects and disease caused many municipalities to seek alternative uses for urban wood rather than disposing material in a landfill. Recent efforts to market this growing source of material and develop ways to recycle urban trees within communities led Wisconsin to become one of the leading states in urban wood utilization. Continue reading “Markets growing for urban wood across Wisconsin”

Complete the Secondary Wood Manufacturer Survey

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources -Division of Forestry is conducting a survey on Wisconsin’s secondary wood manufacturing sector. This sector includes Wisconsin firms that purchase and produce products from lumber, blocks, wood components, fiberboard, plywood, veneer, and manufacturing residue.

The goals of this survey are to: 1.) update the Wisconsin Wood Using Industry Directory, 2.) determine the impact of the secondary wood industry on Wisconsin’s economy, 3.) determine residue availability, and 4.) develop an understanding of educational and training needs for the success of the wood industry. Continue reading “Complete the Secondary Wood Manufacturer Survey”

Wood Energy Webinar a Success

In July, the Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team hosted a free webinar titled, “Wood Energy Systems and Forest Industry Companies: When Are They the Right Fit.” Thirty people attended the webinar. The webinar addressed why wood energy is a good fit for sawmills and other forest products manufacturers. The webinar presenters also covered topics such as the production of heat from wood, combined heat and power that produces heat and electrical power, how wood energy can help with residue management, and what tools are available to look at the feasibility of a project. Some example projects were also highlighted to show how wood energy is benefiting actual companies. For those of you who missed this webinar, please visit the Wisconsin State Wood Energy Team website for educational videos, case studies, tools, and other information to learn more about whether wood energy is the right fit for your home or business.

Celebrate Wisconsin Forest Products Week

Wisconsin has 17.1 million acres of forestland covering nearly half of the state and is home to more than 1,200 forest products companies producing a variety of products that we use daily. In recognition of the importance of forest products to Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker proclaimed the third week of October (October 21-27, 2018) as Wisconsin Forest Products Week.

The proclamation encourages citizens to recognize the many products that come from forests and the people and businesses that work in and care for forests. Forest businesses and organizations are encouraged to host an event or open house to commemorate this event. For ideas or suggestions or to learn more about hosting an event, please contact a member of the DNR forest products team.

Let’s celebrate Wisconsin’s diverse forest products sector during Forest Products Week on October 21-27, 2018!