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USDA Forest Service Awards Wood Innovation Grants In 20 States

USDA Forest Service Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen recently announced the award of almost $8 million to expand and accelerate wood products and wood energy markets. The Wood Innovation Grants will stimulate the removal of hazardous fuels from national forests and other forest lands to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, promote forest health, and reduce the cost of forest management. The investment of federal funds will leverage over $13 million in matching funds from 33 business, university, nonprofit, and tribal partners in 20 states for a total investment of over $21 million.

“These Wood Innovation grants advance state-of-the-art solutions to reducing wildfire risk and making our forests healthier and more resilient,” said Forest Service Interim Chief Christiansen. “The public-private partnerships leveraged with these grants also foster increased economic development in rural communities.”

Previous grants supported successful blast testing of cross-laminated timber (CLT) that directly resulted in the Department of Defense using CLT on its on-base hotels; and the funding of a feasibility analysis for a new CLT manufacturing facility to increase the amount of U.S.-made CLT.

This year the Forest Service received 119 proposals, demonstrating the expanding interest in using wood in both traditional and unconventional ways, such as an innovative building material and as a renewable energy source. Since 2005 more than 260 grants have been awarded to improve forest health, create jobs, invest in renewable energy, and support healthy communities.

Of the 34 projects funded in 2018, 28 focus upon expanding markets for wood products, and six seek to increase markets for wood energy. Some examples include utilizing small-diameter woody material in cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, addressing affordable housing in the northeast building market with mass timber, converting woody debris to renewable natural gas for transportation fuel, and using juniper biomass and biochar to filter heavy metals and manage storm water.

Read more on this from the USDA Forest Service at

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