Forest Products News

Salvaging Storm-Damaged Forest Products

By Alex Anderson, forest products specialist, Rhinelander

The devastation left behind in forested areas after a severe weather event can seem overwhelming. In order to further understanding of how storm-damaged forest and woodlot salvage harvests differ from traditional timber sales, we have compiled information that will, hopefully, help landowners affected by the recent rash of severe weather events in Wisconsin deal with their damaged woodlands more confidently.

Wood Degradation
Many of the downed trees from July’s severe weather are red pines (Pinus resinosa). Pines, particularly white pine (Pinus strobus) and red pine in the Lake States region, are susceptible to staining when they are harvested or killed during a weather event but are not processed quickly enough. The discoloration is a result of microscopic fungi that manifest as a pale, blueish stain in the wood often called “blue-stain” or “sap-stain.” Though there is a small, decorative market for blue-stained pine—sometimes referred to as “denim pine”—it is generally undesirable. Hardwood species are also susceptible to blue stain fungi. End coating logs with a wax barrier may reduce the risk of staining and end checking.

These logs show blue staining. Continue reading “Salvaging Storm-Damaged Forest Products”

Webinar: Biochar Basics and Benefits in Vegetable Growing

By Sabina Dhungana, forest products specialist, Madison

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service hosted a webinar highlighting the principles of biochar. 

Biochar is an emerging forest product that is derived from woody biomass and other organic feedstocks. The use of biochar has gained considerable interest in the agricultural field, and it presents opportunities for utilizing available biomass sources. Topics covered in the webinar included: Biochar markets and uses, biochar production systems, applications in vegetable growing.

The webinar has been archived and can be viewed here.

Forest Products Industry Curriculum Series

By Logan Wells, forest products specialist, Hayward

Workforce development efforts are a key pillar in the Forest Products Services (FPS) program’s strategic direction. These efforts range from teaching and organizing technical workshops on topics that range from rail tie manufacturing to lumber grading. Traditionally, many efforts have focused on training the existing industry workforce. In addition, several current initiatives to raise career awareness in the forest products industry among students include the UW-Stevens Point LEAF Forest Products Kit and the Skills USA woodworking competition.

To build on these efforts of raising awareness about the importance of forest products and potential careers, an industry perspective curriculum is being developed by FPS in cooperation with agriculture teachers, industry partners and LEAF staff. The first installment of the curriculum will focus on the hardwood lumber sector and will be a full weeks’ worth of material. The first class is devoted to establishing basic information about the industry and process of turning logs into lumber. A general overview of the terms, products, jobs and sawmill equipment will be the focus of the first day. The second and third days will allow students to learn and practice the hands-on skill of lumber grading. Lumber grading is one of the most important skillsets in the hardwood industry. Teaching an abbreviated form of lumber grading will provide students a chance to practice applied math and critical thinking in a real-world application. The fourth day will be devoted to learning about the different types of defects in lumber and their causes along with a review exercise for the week. The final day will include resources for classes to connect with a guest speaker, participate in a mill tour or learn about other opportunities to continue to explore the hardwood lumber industry.

These materials will target freshman through junior level students and be taught in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes like industrial technology, woodworking, agriculture or forestry/natural resources. The lumber grading program will be piloted with several schools this fall and be available in late Spring 2020. Eventually this model of industry perspective curriculum will be expanded to highlight information and skills of other sectors of the forest products industry, including logging and trucking. If you have thoughts or questions, or if would like to learn more about the program, please contact Logan Wells at Logan.Wells@wisconsin.gov.

Value-added Wood Manufacturing Industry Survey Results

By Scott Lyon, Forest Products Specialist

The value-added wood manufacturing industry (or secondary wood manufacturing industry) includes companies that use primary wood products such as lumber or veneer to produce higher value products, such as flooring, cabinets, millwork, furniture, sporting goods, doors, windows, roof trusses, wall panels, and other building materials. The industry includes more than 800 facilities, employs more than 20,000 workers, and generates a direct economic impact $3 billion in Wisconsin (WI DWD 2019; IMPLAN DATA 2017).

Continue reading “Value-added Wood Manufacturing Industry Survey Results”

Mass Timber University Grant Program

The announcement below has been reprinted with the written permission by the US Forest Service – Forest Products Laboratory and its original author, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS), announced the initiation of the Mass Timber University Grant Program (grant program) and related Request for Proposals (RFP) to promote the construction of mass timber buildings on institutions of higher learning campuses across the U.S.  The intent of the grant program is to inspire interest in and support for mass timber products among the architectural, developer and building communities as well as the public, by showcasing them in highly-visible projects on university campuses.

Continue reading “Mass Timber University Grant Program”

Upcoming forest products events

Hardwood Lumber Grading Course
Date: May 14- 16
Location: Grayling, MI

Sawing, Edging, and Trimming Class
Date: May 17
Location: Grayling, MI

Hardwood Lumber Grading Course
Date: June 3- 5
Location: Prairie du Chien, WI

Kiln Drying Short Course Drying Quality Lumber
Date: August 12- 15
Location: Antigo, WI

Local-Use Dimension Lumber Grading Workshop
Date: August 22
Location: DNR Service Center in Green Bay, WI

Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association Logging Expo
Date: September 5 -7
Location: UP State Fairgrounds – Escanaba, MI

Timber Product Output Project

By Alex Anderson, Forest Products Specialist

In April 2019, the Forest Products Services program mailed surveys to the majority of primary wood-using firms in Wisconsin. Historically, this survey was colloquially termed the “drain survey,” but it is now generally referred to as the Timber Product Output (TPO) survey. The survey captures information on Wisconsin’s forest products industries, including the total number of firms and employees in the sector, roundwood consumption, and the utilization of residues. Data collected during the survey remains completely confidential and is compiled only at the county and state levels.

The TPO survey is conducted for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the data allows for a direct comparison to previous years’ surveys, which grants us an opportunity to analyze the forest products industry’s performance over time. Additionally, the survey data paints a vivid picture of just how valuable the forest products industry is to the overall well-being of Wisconsin’s economy, including its central role in driving sustainable forest management in the state. The TPO results are also utilized in conjunction with Forest Inventory Analysis data to assist firms in making informed business decisions, such as forecasting resource availability or evaluating procurement strategies.

We hope to have the data compiled by end of 2019. Once the data is available, we will publicize it here.

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.