Our forests are so much more than places to hike, camp, and relax. Many valuable products, resources, and benefits are derived from both public and private forests. The Forest Service strives to find ways to use our national forests and grasslands to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people. All Americans benefit from forest products in some way every day. Examples of these products include:
- Paper and packaging materials
- Lumber for homes and buildings
- Composite materials for construction
- Renewable energy materials
- Stronger, lighter laminated building materials
- High value wood for furniture and flooring
- Structural materials for bridges and transportation safety
Wood composite technologies have been used for decades to create building and home furnishing products. Composites are used for a number of structural and non-structural applications including interior paneling, sheathing, furniture, and support structures in many different types of buildings.
Housing-related areas such as engineered wood products and structures, moisture control, material design and performance, coatings and finishes, adhesives, and wood preservation. Creating advanced technologies and alternative building methods can greatly enhance the value of wood in residential, non-residential, and transportation structures.
Trees are one of the best potential sources of biological fuel and chemicals. They grow in marginal soils unsuitable for agriculture; do not require fertilizer, herbicides, or pesticides; and accumulate biomass density for several years before incurring harvest costs. Converting wood resources into liquid fuels and chemical feedstock is becoming more cost competitive thanks in part to FPL research.
Scientists are conducting nanoscale research to learn more about the fundamental components of wood. Nanotechnology is a multi-disciplinary field of applied science and technology. Nanocellulose holds revolutionary potential for the forest products sector and is the economic key to accelerated forest restoration. Nanocellulose can be a cost-effective substitute for non-renewable resources in all manufacturing sectors.
Woody Biomass Utilization
U.S. forests contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material. Scientists study small-diameter woody material, identify potential uses, and provide technology that can help rural-based communities create successful businesses from the by-products of forest management projects. Our research explores the potential of small-diameter roundwood as a structural material for bridges, boardwalks, trail structures, picnic shelters, storage sheds, and other rustic buildings.