How Forests Make Lives Better: A Whiteboard Video

The North American Forest Partnership (NAFP) recently released a creative whiteboard video outlining all the ways forests make our lives better. NAFP is a diverse group of companies and organizations from throughout the United States and Canada – including the U. S. Forest service – who are committed to the management of sustainable, healthy forests.

Here at the Forest Products Laboratory, we work every day toward a powerful statement made in the video: “From root to branch, from leaf to bark…always innovating.”

Take a minute (or three) to watch and be reminded of the many ways forests improve your life. “Our trees are amazing. By looking after them, we look after ourselves.”

 

 

 

 

Researchers Honored for Life Cycle Assessment Work

The American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) recently honored extraordinary leaders in life cycle assessment (LCA) at the LCA XVII Awards Dinner in Porthsmouth, New Hampshire. Among the winners was the Federal LCA Commons, of which Forest Products Laboratory researchers Richard Bergman, Hongmei Gu, and Shaobo Liang are a part. Continue reading

Video: FPL Brings Innovation to the Forest Products Industry with Nanocellulose

Happy National Forest Products Week!

One of the most exciting and innovative forest products today is nanocellulose, a product that is as strong as steel but five times lighter. Here at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), we produce nanocellulose and work with many partners to study potential commercial applications for this wonder material that brings wood to industries that perhaps have not incorporated it before.

The Forest Service recently produced a video that explains what nanocellulose is, how it’s produced, and what it can be made into. It might seem hard to believe that wood can be used to make ballistic glass, synthetic armor, replacement tendons (yes, in people!), or coatings that keep food fresh longer. But it’s all within reach, thanks to nanocellulose research…just watch and learn!

Time in a Bottle: Finding New Life for an Old (Yet Reliable) Test Method

The simple soil bottle presents an extremely useful tool for predicting performance of preservative treated, modified or naturally durable woods. The methodology was developed in the 1940s exclusively for evaluating wood preservatives against wood decay fungi. It has been adapted over several decades to include naturally durable woods, wood plastic composites, and engineered wood products, and we use it constantly here at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL).

The basic premise of the soil bottle is a material is presented to an actively growing fungus in an otherwise sterile environment. The resistance of the material to fungal degradation is determined by comparison to reference materials (non-durable species or treated reference material). The soil bottle also presents an excellent tool for studying basic fungal biology whereby cellular changes in wood during the decomposition process can be analyzed.  The soil presents a refuge for the decay fungus as well as a source for moisture and transported ions relevant to the decay process.

Past, present and future research at FPL is looking at ways of modifying the standard soil bottle setup to be even more useful for the evaluation of wood and wood protectants. Here are just a few examples of where FPL researchers are pushing the boundaries of the standard soil bottle: Continue reading