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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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How does it apply?

Lumber and Newsprint from Forest Thinnings

FPL Our national forests are so overcrowded that the growth of many trees is suppressed. Initial research has shown that small-diameter (suppressed-growth) trees have narrower annual rings, more uniform fiber cell structure within the rings, and a higher volume of mature wood. Ironically, due to a number of economic factors, availability of pulpwood from public and private lands in the western United States is diminishing, and the pulp and paper industry has become increasingly reliant on availability of residuals from sawmill operations.

Pulping trials undertaken by FPL in an industrial pilot-scale facility showed that the characteristics of suppressed-growth trees improve pulp properties in the production of paper. Furthermore, less refining energy was required to produce pulp from forest thinnings than from conventional wood supplies. Results of this work also showed that lumber produced from forest thinnings meets or exceeds the sawmill specification.