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Value-added structural components from underused hardwoods.

Hardwoods are abundant in the forests of the Northeastern United States, but past forestry practices have resulted in an excess of low-valued hardwood species such as red maple. Numerous stands of hardwood forests around the Lake States and the Northeast need active management to restore desired conditions, the original balance of species, and a greater biodiversity of trees, plants, and animals. The removal of low-valued hardwoods is expensive, and pallets traditionally made from this material do not cover the costs. FPL researchers are working in cooperation with Michigan Technological University, the University of Minnesota's Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth, and several industry partners to develop value-added structural uses for red maple and to find economical uses for manufacturing residuals from hard maple and yellow birch. Research has included financial assessments and studies on cost-effective drying, engineering properties of the underused species, lumber yields, fasteners, and designs for I-beams and trusses. Research results show that maple trusses have 29 percent more strength and 10 percent more stiffness than equivalent softwood trusses. These new uses for low-valued hardwoods can help offset the costs of their removal and the reforestation of other species, which will restore biodiversity.
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Title Annotation:TECHNO NEWS
Publication:Forest Products Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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