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Individual Highlight

Effects of Silviculture Practices on the Engineering Properties of Northern Hardwood Species of the Lake States

Photo of A northern hardwood stand in the Dukes Experimental Forest, Hiawatha National Forest, MichiganA northern hardwood stand in the Dukes Experimental Forest, Hiawatha National Forest, MichiganSnapshot : Wood quality is an important determinant of its end use and therefore its value. Recent proliferation of novel engineered wood products has created new potential uses for hardwood. However, a greater understanding of wood quality is needed to allow continued development of these novel wood products.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Wang, XipingRoss, Robert J.
Research Location : Lake States and the Northeast region of United States
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2018
Highlight ID : 1506


A number of tree species typical of northern hardwood forests (such as sugar maple, American beech, and yellow birch) have been utilized primarily for aesthetic applications and have therefore been graded visually. Novel engineered wood products, including cross-laminated timber (CLT), could utilize lower appearance grade timber, providing a new market and potential higher returns for these lower grades. However, an improved understanding of the mechanical properties of these species, and the influence of silviculture and environmental conditions on those properties, is necessary. Researchers reviewed technical and scientific literature pertaining to the influence of silviculture and growing environment on wood grade and mechanical properties of hardwood species growing in the northern hardwoods region of the Lakes States. The knowledge of these engineering properties is central to the use of hardwoods in new engineered wood products.  Researchers learned that fundamental property information from studies conducted in the early twentieth century exists for many hardwood species indigenous to the Lakes States region; several research studies have been conducted on the effect silviculture practices have on tree form, log quality, and growth rate; and there is little relative information regarding the effect silviculture practices have on mechanical properties in these species. The outcomes from this review could form the basis for future research projects that will advance the development of novel engineered wood products utilizing low appearance grade timber of northern hardwood species.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Northern Research Station
  • Michigan Technological University