Trees Are Climate Change, Carbon Storage Heroes

Mature trees like this Elm can sequester more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in a single year. Photo by USDA Forest Service

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, once wrote, “I longed to devise a setting in which the trees might really march to war.”

If climate change is a battle for Earth’s survival, then trees will be a vital army holding the line. When Tolkien imagined trees marching to war, he couldn’t have foreseen how relevant those words would one day be.

Trees are a bastion against climate change.

Continue reading

Big Grant Funding Awarded to Tiniest, Mightiest Building Material of the Future

The Forest Products Laboratory is pleased to announce the littlest big news that could help change how we fabricate the world around us.

CN-enhanced concrete looks and acts like traditional concrete but is much stronger. Photo by Michael Goergen, U.S. Endowment.

USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in collaboration with P3Nano from the US Endowment for Forests and Communities(U.S. Endowment) announced ten awards this month for projects ranging from one to five years, totaling $2.4 million in grants to further nanocellulose research.

The partnership funds research to evaluate the safety of cellulosic nanomaterials (CNs), develop process improvements to reduce production cost, and provide new market opportunities for advanced applications. Everything from biodegradable snack packaging to concrete additives that significantly reduce CO2 emissions are possible with CN innovation.

Continue reading

The Journal Nature Features FPL Researcher

Junyong (J.Y.) Zhu, PhD
Fiber and Chemical Science Research
Research General Engineer

Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) researcher Junyong (J.Y.) Zhu was featured in the journal Nature for his contribution to the recent article, “Developing fibrillated cellulose as a sustainable technological material.”

Fibrillated cellulose has the unique characteristics and sustainable properties that could make it the building block polymer of the very near future.

A polymer is a material used in the manufacture of innumerable commercial products, from grocery bags to automobile parts to construction materials to the brush that runs through your hair every morning. Basically, a polymer is a fabrication building block. Currently, commercial polymers are sourced primarily from metal and petroleum.

Continue reading

The Next in Forest Products Laboratory’s Women in STEM Legacy

This is the third in a series of inspirational stories about the incredible women in STEM careers at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL).

Eloise Gerry, first FPL & Forest Service woman scientist.

When FPL researcher, Eloise Gerry, became the first female scientist in the Forest Service, she probably would have never imagined the numerous and often surprising ways STEM careers have developed since 1910. The need for STEM literate individuals, who also have the skills to merge creative thinking with the ability to translate the science in artistic and easily understandable ways, is growing.

FPL celebrates the legacy and precedent Gerry set not only during Women’s History Month but every month of the year. In this edition, we would like to continue to showcase the incredible women in STEM who have followed in her extraordinary, trailblazing footsteps. Take a moment to meet the phenomenal FPL women who work in unconventional STEM careers and have devoted their lives to science delivery and a more informed STEM public: 

Continue reading

More From Forest Products Laboratory’s Legacy of Women Researchers

This is the second in a series of inspirational stories about the incredible women scientists at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL).

Eloise Gerry, first FPL & Forest Service woman scientist.

Every month of the year, and especially during Women’s History Month, FPL celebrates the legacy and precedent set by FPL’s and the Forest Service’s first woman scientist, Eloise Gerry. In this edition, we would like to continue to showcase the incredible women scientists who have followed in her extraordinary, trailblazing footsteps.

Like nearly all remarkable stories, they are often most powerful when told straight from the women themselves. Take a moment to meet the women who are positively changing the world through forest products research and making it a better place to inhabit:

Continue reading