One early major accomplishment of the Forest Products Laboratory and the Forest Service’s Southern Research Station was cooperative research with industry to develop a way to economically convert southern pine softwood to pulp for newsprint and bleached paper.
Later a polysulfide process to produce higher yields from southern pine and other softwoods was developed, and today the use of southern pine pulp is a multi-billion dollar industry.
FPL also pioneered the development of multistage bleaching methods for southern pine sulfate pulp. The commercial production of bleached sulfate pulp suitable for bond, writing, wrapping, printing, and specialty papers now amounts to millions of tons annually. Results of this research have helped keep the cost of paper low.
(Excerpt from John Koning’s book Forest Products Laboratory 1910-2010: Celebrating a Century of Accomplishments.)