Forest products

It’s Firewood Awareness Month: do you know what your options are?

By Andrea Diss-Torrance, invasive forest insects program coordinator, Andrea.DissTorrance@wisconsin.gov, 608-516-2223

Most people know that using locally-sourced firewood helps prevent the spread of invasive pests and diseases. What may be less well known are the processes for finding local sources of firewood or learning where and how you can collect it yourself. During Firewood Awareness Month, we want to share what options are out there so you can take steps to protect the places you love.

Firewood isn't dead - infested firewood can carry insects and diseases to new places

Infested firewood can carry invasive insects and diseases to new places. Buy or gather firewood where you will use it or buy firewood that has been certified as heat-treated and free of pests and diseases. Credit: dontmovefirewood.org.

Continue reading “It’s Firewood Awareness Month: do you know what your options are?”

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.

Mass Timber Proposed in Milwaukee Building

A Wisconsin-based real estate development firm, New Land Enterprises, plans to construct a seven-story mass timber office building on a vacant site in downtown Milwaukee. The building was designed by Korb + Associates Architects and would be the tallest of such structures in Wisconsin.

What is mass timber?
Mass timber is a category of structural framing styles typically characterized by the use of large, solid wood panels for wall, floor, and roof construction. Examples include: glued-laminated timber (glulam), nail-laminated timber (NLT), cross-laminated timber (CLT), and dowel-laminated timber (DLT).

Continue reading “Mass Timber Proposed in Milwaukee Building”

Offering a railroad tie manufacturing workshop

Are you considering sawing railroad ties but don’t know where to start? Do you wish to gain a better understanding of log selection and manufacturing as it relates to tie grades and markets? The Wisconsin DNR, in partnership with the Wisconsin Wood Marketing Team, will host a one-day workshop on railroad tie manufacturing on September 18, 2018.

This course will cover the basics of tie grades, defect limitations, log selection and overall feasibility of sawing ties. The workshop will conclude with a hands-on grading exercise and discussion.

Head sawyers, lumber inspectors, mill owners, managers, salespeople, loggers, foresters and others interested in railroad tie manufacturing are encouraged to attend this informative seminar to be held at Northcentral Technical College, Wood Technology Center for Excellence in Antigo, Wisconsin.

Registration will be taken online (see the online registration portal here) or by mail (see the mail-in registration form here).  The registration fee of $20 includes lunch.

Contact Collin Buntrock (608-286-9083, Collin.Buntrock@Wisconsin.gov) for more information.

Wisconsin delegation explores China market

A delegation of six forestry businesses from Wisconsin, along with representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and Scott Lyon from the Department of Natural Resources, participated in a trade mission to China on March 20-April 4, 2018. The purpose was to explore and expand markets for Wisconsin’s forest products. Continue reading “Wisconsin delegation explores China market”

Renewable energy flooring makes debut

This article is reprinted with written permission from the author.

One step closer to market: Renewable energy flooring makes debut in Union South
By Will Cushman, UW-Madison, Environmental Resources Center

As tens of thousands of visitors each day walk across a new flooring installation in UW-Madison’s Union South in fall 2017, they might not realize they’re participating in what could very well represent a leap into the future of renewable energy production.

A research team led by Xudong Wang, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of materials science and engineering, in collaboration with the UW-Madison Grainger Institute for Engineering, has installed a high-tech flooring prototype that harvests the energy of footsteps and converts it into electricity.

Continue reading “Renewable energy flooring makes debut”

Wood mission scheduled for China in March

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will lead a trade mission with Wisconsin forestry businesses to northern China from March 20-30, 2018. The mission will include one-on-one matchmaking meetings with potential buyers and trade partners in Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, and will end at Asia’s most comprehensive woodworking and machinery trade show Interzum Guangzhou. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to visit wood product manufacturing locations.

This mission will enable participating Wisconsin forestry businesses to forge relationships with potential Chinese buyers and trading partners, gain market intelligence and first-hand knowledge of the Chinese wood import business practices and environment.

Chinese wood products market is the largest in the world for U.S. wood and wood products. Since 2005, China has become the world’s largest exporter of furniture. In recent years, domestic demand for these wood products have grown and more have stayed in China instead of being exported. According to the American Hardwood Export Council, one in five hardwood lumber boards produced in the U.S. is exported to China. The economic outlook for China remains positive with an expected annual growth in 2018.

Wisconsin forestry product businesses interested in building and expanding trade in China are invited to attend. For more, information please see the trade mission flyer.

By DNR Forest Products Specialist Scott Lyon, Scott.Lyon@Wisconsin.gov, 920-662-5184

Accepting applicants for urban positions

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry has two Limited Term Employment (LTE) positions open for applications.  One position is an Urban Forest Assessment Outreach Specialist with the Urban Forestry team and the other is an Urban Forest Inventory Specialist with the Forest Products Services team.  Each of these positions is a half-time appointment, and both are stationed out of Central Office in downtown Madison. Continue reading “Accepting applicants for urban positions”