Forest Products News

New DNR Forest Products Services Team Leader Named

Scott Lyon is the new leader of the Forest Products Services team.

Scott Lyon is the new leader of the Forest Products Services team.

The new year started with Scott Lyon taking over the helm of the Forest Products Services team. As the team leader, Scott will lead, direct and administer all policy, personnel and budget activities of the Forest Products Services Program. Scott will continue to work out of the Green Bay Service Center.

For the last nine years, he has worked as a forest products specialist with the DNR, helping industry partners improve processes, source wood products materials, utilize urban wood and providing training and assistance to companies and individuals. He previously worked in wood products sales and manufacturing domestically and internationally. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in wood products business and marketing from Penn State and a master’s degree in forest products from Virginia Tech with an emphasis in international marketing. Scott recently completed the Leadership Academy training within the agency. As a result of his professional network, his connections span the geography of the U.S. and even reach internationally. In 2018, he was identified by the Woodworking Network on the “Woodworking Industry 40 Under 40” list as an innovator and relationship builder.

He currently serves on the Lake States Lumber Association as a board member of the Education Committee. He was also recently elected secretary of the Great Lakes Kiln Drying Association and secretary of the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance’s Forest Markets and Utilization Committee.

Scott lives in Green Bay with his wife and their new baby boy and their dogs. Scott’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, hiking, paddling and traveling to visit U.S. national parks and battlefields.

Previously, Collin Buntrock served as the program’s team leader. Collin left the DNR in August to join the U.S. Forest Service as a wood innovations specialist.

Where Are Wisconsin’s Forest Products Going? A Closer Look At International Trade

By Ram Dahal (, DNR Forest Economist, Forest Product Services

Wisconsin’s forest industry creates $24 billion of products each year. Historically, more than $1 billion of that total has included products sold internationally. However, did you know that in most years, Wisconsin imports forest products of an even greater value from international sellers?

Wisconsin’s international trade balance deficit exceeded $300 million in 2009, immediately following the Great Recession, but the deficit declined until 2012. In fact, Wisconsin had a trade surplus in 2012 but quickly resumed importing more forestry commodities than it was exporting (Fig. 1).

Wisconsin forest products foreign import export trend (left) and trade balance (right). / Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Figure 1: Wisconsin forest products foreign import export trend (left) and trade balance (right). / Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Continue reading “Where Are Wisconsin’s Forest Products Going? A Closer Look At International Trade”

Financial Support Available For Businesses Affected By Lack Of Snow

According to a press release from Gov. Tony Evers, many Wisconsin businesses might be eligible for a “federal disaster loan program” if they have suffered financial losses due to this winter’s unusually mild winter. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a list of counties attached to the press release where businesses are eligible to receive the financial relief. Learn more about the program.

International Wood Buyers Visit Wisconsin

By Scott Lyon, DNR Forest Products Specialist

From May 30 to June 2, 2023, eight wood buyers from Mexico, India, Thailand and Taiwan participated in an inbound trade mission that visited ten lumber manufacturers around the state. This event was hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and New North, Inc., and was sponsored by the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

While visiting the Wisconsin manufacturers, the buyers learned about sustainable forest management practices, the wood species and types of forest products manufactured here in the state, and how the products could meet their existing market demand in their own country. In addition to visiting Wisconsin lumber manufacturers, the buyers were treated to a reception at the Menominee Casino in Keshena where additional lumber manufacturers from around the state were able to meet them and market their products. Menominee Tribal Enterprises was the host company during this event and provided the attendees with an overview of their tribal history, sawmill and forest management practices.  Continue reading “International Wood Buyers Visit Wisconsin”

Timber Prices: Supply and Demand

By Ram Dahal, DNR Forest Economist

Timber prices are the dollar values paid to a landowner for the right to harvest by loggers or timber buyers. Timber pricing is important as it not only defines the value of the timberland but also as a driving factor for timberland investments. Therefore, an understanding of how timber prices are set is foundational for both buyers and sellers of stumpage.

In principle, the price offered for timber depends on the interaction between the supply and demand components of a market. In the context of a timber sale, demand refers to a logger or timber buyer’s desire to purchase timber and willingness to pay for it. In most circumstances, wood-consuming mills are the primary drivers of timber demand. On the other hand, supply refers to the total amount of a timber that is available to the marketplace. Forestland owners are the primary drivers of timber supply. Continue reading “Timber Prices: Supply and Demand”

Wisconsin DNR Begins State Nursery Biochar Trial

By Brian Zweifel, DNR Forest Products Specialist

What is Biochar?

Biochar is basically just charcoal with a special mission, to be used in the soil. The U.S. Biochar Initiative (USBI) defines it as “carbonized biomass obtained from sustainable sources and sequestered in soils to sustainably enhance their agricultural and environmental value under present and future management.” 

Microscopic structure of biochar.

Microscopic structure of biochar. / Photo Credit: U.K. Biochar Research Centre

Biomass, such as unmerchantable wood waste, is transformed into this carbon-rich material in a low oxygen environment, cooking most non-carbon materials out of it and leaving the material’s basic structure intact. This carbon skeleton is what gives biochar many of its desirable properties. 

The former vessels and pores in the plant material are now able to adsorb nutrients and water before they can move below the rooting zone. This helps reduce nutrient leaching into groundwater and plant water stress by keeping them available in the rooting zone. This structure also has a high cation exchange capacity, making biochar very effective at binding pollutants like mercury and other heavy metals found in urban/industrial areas. 

An added benefit of using biochar in degraded soils is that it is great at providing protected spaces for beneficial soil microbes. Fungal hyphae and bacteria readily colonize biochar particles, which provides protection from adverse conditions and helps improve soil health. Another very promising attribute of biochar is that it is a very stable and long-lived form of soil carbon. Studies in the Amazon Basin have found evidence of charcoal (biochar) used by indigenous groups to improve the heavily leached soils that date back several hundred to thousands of years ago. The discovery of this “terra preta,” or literally “black soil” in Portuguese, was the spark that started researchers looking into the long-lived nature of biochar, its ability to improve soil health, and the possibility of using it to sequester carbon in soils for centuries. A wide variety of scientific trials are underway across the globe, including right here in Wisconsin. Continue reading “Wisconsin DNR Begins State Nursery Biochar Trial”

Forest Products Training and Events

Lake States Lumber Association (LSLA) – Railroad Tie Manufacturing Workshop

Tuesday, Sept. 12
Stony Creek Resort, Onalaska, WI
The workshop will cover the basics of tie grading, log selection, log and tie processing, and sawmill considerations. A hands-on grading exercise and discussion will also be included. For more information and to register, visit the LSLA education webpage.

LSLA Hardwood Lumber Grading

Oct. 24-26
Northcentral Technical College, Antigo, WI
The course is open to everyone interested in lumber grading. For complete details, including the topics that will be covered in the course, list of area hotels and registration link, please see the following website:

LSLA Sawing, Edging And Trimming

Oct. 27
Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Neopit, WI
This course will cover the basics of NHLA grading rules, sawing for recovery, and edging and trimming requirements. To register for the course, please see the following website:

USDA Forest Service Accepting Grant Applications For Wood Innovations Projects, Community Wood Energy Facilities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced it will offer $41 million through the 2023 Wood Innovations Grant and 2023 Community Wood Grant programs to spark innovation and create new markets for wood products and renewable wood energy.

These grants expand wood products use and strengthen emerging wood energy markets, supporting sustainable forest management – particularly in areas of high wildfire risk.

The application deadline for both grant programs is Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 5 p.m. local time. Applications may be submitted via email to the Forest Service Regional Wood Innovations coordinator listed in the application instructions. Continue reading “USDA Forest Service Accepting Grant Applications For Wood Innovations Projects, Community Wood Energy Facilities”

Forest Products Training/Event Calendar

Sustainable Forestry Conference
Wednesday, April 19

Keyes Peak Ski Lodge, Florence, WI
For additional information about the conference and registration details, please visit this website. 

Wisconsin Local Use Dimension Lumber Grading
Thursday, May 11

Kemp Natural Resources Station, Woodruff, WI
To register for this course, please visit this site

Wisconsin Local Use Dimension Lumber Grading
Tuesday, August 15

Kemp Natural Resources Station, Woodruff, WI
To register for this course, please visit this site