Deliver Benefits to the Public

Reducing wildfire risk and supporting healthy forests through wood innovation partnerships

Rendering of a cross-laminated timber house
The Idaho Central Credit Arena will be built with cross laminated timber, and the initial design was funded in part by a Forest Service Wood Innovation Grant. Photo courtesy of the University of Idaho ICCU Arena Renderings.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tall wood buildings. Innovative, low-emission wood stoves. Biochar. Thermally modified wood for outdoor applications like a boardwalk. These successes and many others have been made possible through Wood Innovation Grants spearheaded by the USDA Forest Service.

These grants form the basis of public-private partnerships that create jobs, support fire-safe communities, restore healthy forest conditions and spur environmentally sound innovation. Last week the Forest Service awarded over $8.9 million through the Wood Innovations Grant program to 39 business, university, nonprofit and tribal partners in 20 states. In turn, these partners are bringing an additional $8.8 million in matching resources to the table to find new and improved uses for wood-based forest products.

By stimulating markets that support the removal of material from overstocked forests to mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfires, Wood Innovations Grants serve as economic engines that help create jobs in rural communities, promote forest health and reduce the cost of forest management.  
“The public-private partnerships supported by investing in wood innovations are key to managing wildfire risk and supporting health forests,” said Christiansen. “By advancing new solutions, we are making our forests and rural communities healthier and more resilient.”

This year the Forest Service received 140 proposals, demonstrating the expanding interest in using wood in traditional and unconventional ways—as an innovative building material, a renewable energy source, and many other applications.

Of the 41 projects selected, 29 focus upon expanding markets for wood products and 12 seek to increase markets for wood energy. Some projects involve the design of new mass timber buildings, such as a courthouse and K‒12 schools, while others explore using mass timber in high velocity hurricane zones. Additional projects will help fuel small-scale, combined heat and power projects and biochar market development.

Projects will take place in 20 states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Follow the link ahead for a list of all the 2019 Wood Innovations grant recipients.