Timber Products Output
As part of the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Forest Inventory and Analysis' (NRS-FIA) mission is to provide comprehensive assessment of the past trends, current status, and future potential of the region’s forest. The Timber Products Output group conducts research to estimate and track timber removals and their consequential impact on the forests and economies of the region.
NRS-FIA measurement plots can estimate the average annual level of removals during the survey period which are useful in understanding and explaining the changes over time. What the NRS-FIA measurement plots can not give you is what happened to the trees that were harvested for products. To help answer the question of what happens to these trees, TPO uses three different steps.
The first step, which is the primary Research Topics of the TPO group, includes surveys of primary timber products users, both industrial and non-industrial users. The industrial TPO study is a canvass of the primary processors of industrial roundwood in each state on a 3-5 year periodic cycle. This study gives us the information on what species is cut, where it comes from, and what product is produced. Also from this study, we can estimate the volume or mill residues (bark, saw dust, and slabs and edgings) that are produced and whether they are used for other products or not.
The non-industrial TPO study is a survey of residential users of fuelwood and posts on a 10 year cycle. This survey is a two-step process: 1) a survey of residential households as to their personal harvesting of fuelwood and posts, and 2) a survey of commercial producers that harvest and sell products to residential households. For time periods between surveys, the non-industrial uses of wood are indexed to Department of Energy figures.
The second step to answering the question of what happened to the trees that were cut is linking the industrial and non-industrials studies to logging utilization studies. Logging utilization studies are conducted at the harvest site while trees are actually being harvested. Trees that are being harvested are classified using the same guidelines that are used on NRS-FIA measurement plot trees. Measurements are taking on harvested trees to determine size, volume being utilized, volume not being utilized, and total height of the trees. Trees damaged or killed in the process of extraction, such as when smaller trees have large trees felled on them, are included.
The final step is linking the NRS-FIA measurement plots, the primary wood users survey, and the logging utilization study. From the NRS-FIA measurement plots, we can get the removals related to the unutilized trees that occur during land-use conversion, timber stand improvement, precommercial thinnings, etc. Using the logging utilization study and the primary timber products users’ survey, we can determine what products were produced and the volume that was used for products and how much was left on the ground as harvest residue. Together, they all provide a comprehensive assessment of the total removals.
Last Modified: 07/14/2010