Forest Products News

Biochar 101 and potential applications

By Sabina Dhungana, forest products specialist, Madison, 608-220-4531

The Forest Products Services program in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service hosted a webinar highlighting the fundamentals 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, and applications in vegetable growing.  The webinar has been archived and can be viewed here.

Wood energy assistance for Wisconsin businesses

By Sabina Dhungana, forest products specialist, Madison, 608-220-4531

The Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) is a public-private partnership that aims to expand markets for converting woody biomass into energy while advancing installation of commercially viable wood energy systems in both public and private facilities. These efforts support forest restoration, wildfire mitigation, urban wood utilization and other sustainable forest management goals. The WI DNR Forest Products Services program is a member of SWET and currently coordinates the team’s efforts across Wisconsin.

SWET was initially established in 2015 by a USDA Forest Service grant. During the grant period, the team completed seven wood energy analysis projects in Wisconsin for a wide range of entities such as wood industries, hospitals, cheese factories, and schools. Facilities sought out this free assistance to better utilize locally available wood residues while understanding potential cost savings of wood energy. SWET members worked with interested facilities by collecting essential information such as facility energy needs, utility costs, woody biomass availability, and any potential future energy demands. The cost/benefit analysis was then conducted in cooperation with an engineering firm contracted by USDA Forest Service.

With the continuation of wood energy efforts across Wisconsin, your facility can take advantage of this free assistance from SWET. If you are interested in a free wood energy analysis, please contact Sabina Dhungana via email at Sabina.Dhungana@wisconsin.gov or call her at 608-220-4531.

Three perspectives on wood seminar

By Scott Lyon, forest products specialist, Green Bay, 920-360-3722

The Forest Products Services program has partnered with Madison College’s Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program to sponsor an event titled, “Three Perspectives on Wood.”

Speakers will highlight recommendations for sourcing and using wood properly for best performance. This event is part of the college’s annual seminar series that is geared toward educating students, builders, designers, wood product manufacturers, and woodworkers.

“Three Perspectives on Wood” will be held on December 3, 2019 at Madison College, Truax Campus. For more information or to attend, please visit the event website.

Forest inventory analyst joins the Forestry Division

By Collin Buntrock, forest products team leader, Rhinelander, 608-286-9083

I am very pleased to announce that Brian Anderson has accepted the Forest Inventory Analyst position with the Forest Products Services team. This position leads Wisconsin’s statewide forest inventory and analysis (FIA) programs for the Division of Forestry and serves as a key consultant for both internal and external customers, providing data analysis and reporting for both urban and rural FIA, forest regeneration monitoring (FRM), and state forest lands (WisCFI). His first day was October 14, and he is based in Rhinelander.

Recently, Brian worked at the University of Minnesota as a researcher on various silviculture and growth and yield studies, in addition to part time work as a biometrician focusing on forest carbon projects. Brian received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in forestry from the University of Minnesota, focusing his studies on quantitative silviculture, forest inventory, and biometrics. Outside of work, he enjoys running, Nordic skiing, camping, hunting, and playing and listening to music.

Brian can be reached at BrianD.Anderson@wisconsin.gov and 715-499-3291.

Forest Products Training and Events

Millyard Operations Technical Advancement Group – North – Winter Meeting
Date: December 10-12, 2019
Location: Rothschild, WI

LSLA 2020 Winter Meeting
Date: January 15-17, 2020
Location: Green Bay, WI

Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association Convention & Exposition
Date: February 3-5, 2020
Location: Indianapolis, IN

Wisconsin Local-Use Dimension Lumber Grading Workshop
Date: February 25, 2020
Location: Green Bay, WI

Custom Chair Design and Construction
Date: February 29 – March 14, 2020
Location: Antigo, WI

Wisconsin Local-Use Dimension Lumber Grading Workshop
Date: March 14, 2020
Location: Stevens Point, WI

Moulder Set-Up and Knife Grinding Workshop
Date: March 23 – 25, 2020
Location: Antigo, WI

International Mass Timber Conference
Date: March 24-26, 2020
Location: Portland, OR

Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association Spring Celebration
Date: April 9, 2020
Location: Green Bay, WI

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”