A Feather in Our Cap

As a world-renowned research facility, we’re used to getting important visitors who fly in from across the globe to take a tour of the Forest Products Laboratory …

A family of sandhill cranes flew in to visit the FPL today.

A family of sandhill cranes flew in to visit the FPL today.

.Photo by Steve Schmieding, FPL

Big News Out of FPL! You Woodn't Want to Miss it

With the lazy, hazy days of summer upon us, why not take a load off, grab a cool drink, and ease into the latest edition of Newsline?

Where else are you going to read about a rural Northern California town that is “interested in being a little bit more of a part of the future than of the past…?” Is Yreka on the cusp of a Eureka! moment?


And this:

  • The roots of FPL’s research are seemingly found everywhere — including a grocery store…
  • Anything you can imagine can be used as evidence when investigating a crime scene — including wood… Don’t believe it? Take a guilt-free look at FPL’s focus on Forensic Botany.
  • FPL’s worldwide and royal reach extended to an exhibit at Fort Royal Gardens, Bristol, U.K.
  • Sometimes when the axe comes down, it can be a very good thing, indeed.
  • One FPL researcher found some time to horse around, woodn’t you know…
  • All the above stories and a lot more…

If you’d like to have NewsLine delivered right to your inbox, simply send an email request to mailroom_forest_products_laboratory@fs.fed.us

So dive in and enjoy this edition of Newsline, and have a safe and happy summer.

-The FPL Communications  and Science Delivery Team




WGN-TV Gets Look at Tree Decay From Inside

Tree inspection 1

WGN-TV covered a workshop at the Morton Arboretum near Chicago Thursday which highlighted the use of new methods to test urban trees for possible deterioration. If decay can be caught early enough, it can prevent property loss or injury that sometimes results from downed trees.

Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) scientists Xiping Wang, Adam Senalik and Bob Ross were on hand, along with Allison Tree, LLC’s Bruce Allison and others presenting the importance and innovative ways we are now able to look at sick trees from the inside.


Science Leaves No Case Unturned

The so-called "Lindy Baby Ladder," which Forest Products Laboratory Botanist Arthur Koehler used to convict Bruno Hauptmann.

Forest Products Laboratory Botanist Arthur Koehler tied the ladder in this picture to the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby in the 1930s.

Here at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) we are proud of the groundbreaking, high-impact work we have been performing for over 100 years. We like to say this work has improved the lives of all Americans. Our aim is to make sure this legacy continues over the next 100 years.

To this day, however, none of this work has received higher visibility than FPL’s foray into forensic botany, and our first-of-the-kind efforts that resulted in the conviction of Bruno Hauptmann in the infamous, headline-grabbing Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder in the 1930s.

FPL Botanist Arthur Koehler’s work and ensuing testimony tied Hauptmann to the wooden ladder used in the kidnapping, which ultimately made the case for the prosecution and sent to Hauptmann to the electric chair.

In this offering, How Trees Help Solve Murders, the online publication The Atlas drills into forensic botany and its current uses. It even has a word with FPL’s current wood sleuth,  Alex Widenhoeft, who offers his take on this science. He’ll tell you it’s all in a day’s work, but we know he’s barking up the wrong tree.

To Our Readers:



As the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) closes its 105th year of serving America as the national research lab of the USDA Forest Service, we want to thank all of you for your continued support and wish you a very happy, safe new year ahead.

In 2016, we look forward to continuing to keep you abreast of all the high-quality, science-based innovation performed here at the lab — research which benefits our nation’s forests and literally adds to the well-being of every American, every day.

Warm Regards and Happy New Year!

-Doug Clawson and the FPL Communications Team