Problem Area 2. Characterization of Wood and Woody Biomass

The demand for raw materials from southern forests has been high since the 1980’s and will continue to increase. The perpetual state of strain on the southern forest resource has led to a change in the material that comprises the bulk of traditional forest product commodities. This problem area will focus on three elements pertinent to the effective utilization of our southern forest resource.

Problem Area 2a. Rapid Assessment of Material Properties of Wood and Wood Composites

The unit will develop predictive models that include property determination from increment cores, on-line monitoring of industrial processes, and characterization of woody biomass feedstocks for conversion to energy.

Problem Area 2b. Characterization of Bark

The unit will conduct basic studies to characterize bark anatomically as well as investigate the solvent-extractable compounds that are believed to impart to tree bark the resistance to attack by insects and pathogens. Applied research will also be conducted that targets the development of new products such as nutraceuticals, filtration media, and functional adhesive fillers.

Problem Area 2c. Timber Assessment and Allocation to Evaluate Standing and Felled Trees

Research will be conducted towards improving capabilities to monitor forest canopy, tree crowns, and tree stem soundness that will provide information on forest health and vigor. Analytical methods will also be developed that will permit non-invasive assessment of log quality thus allowing for more efficient processing decisions.