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New technology for a revitalized timber industry

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17 December 2017
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New technology for a revitalized timber industry


New technology for a revitalized timber industry
Could a revival of Oregon`s timber industry reduce the fuel load in public forests and ease the blistering wildfires that choked much of the state in smoke the past few weeks?

At this point it`s an intriguing question without a simple answer. But it arises as university researchers and industry officials explore advanced wood products such as cross-laminated timbers (called CLT) and mass plywood panels, which can support multi-story wooden buildings, even modest high-rises. Only two Western Oregon mills and a handful of others nationally make the products, but they appear to hold promise.

For one thing, the massive beams and panels can be made with small-diameter logs, the very type crowding forests and contributing to the explosive growth of the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and the much larger Chetco Bar Fire in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the southwest corner of the state.

The public forests most in need of restoration and thinning work are east of the Cascades, where much of the milling infrastructure has "disappeared". It doesn`t make economic sense to move poor quality trees from Eastern Oregon to mills in Western Oregon.The Forest Service is on the right track, but noted that conservation groups often oppose increased logging on public land.

A Forest Service official said the agency makes 600 million board-feet of timber available for sale annually in Oregon and Washington, and the perspective that it is holding up an industry revival is "dated".


Source: http://www.capitalpress.com
November 21, 2017