Scientists & Staff

Jan Wiedenbeck

Jan Wiedenbeck

Project Leader / Research Forest Products Technologist.
301 Hardwood Lane, Suite B
Princeton, WV, 24740
Phone: 304-431-2708

Contact Jan Wiedenbeck

Current Research

Hardwood quality, markets, and processing research with a current focus on how fire, both wildfire and prescribed fire, affects tree, log, and product quality over time.

Stanis, Shannon; Wiedenbeck, Jan; Saunders, Mike R. 2019. Effect of Prescribed Fire on Timber Volume and Grade in the Hoosier National Forest. Forest Science. 11 p. Brown, John P.; Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Wiedenbeck, Janice K. 2018. Silvicultural Prescriptions Influence the Proportion of High-Quality Hardwood Butt Logs Harvested over a Half-Century of Management. Forest Science. 64(2): 203-213. Wiedenbeck, Janice K.; Brown, John P.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa. 2017. Tree-quality impacts associated with use of the shelterwood-fire technique in a central Appalachian forest. In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 146-156. Wiedenbeck, Janice K.; Schuler, Thomas M. 2014. Effects of prescribed fire on the wood quality and marketability of four hardwood species in the central Appalachian region. In: Groninger, John W.; Holzmueller, Eric J.; Nielsen, Clayton K.; Dey, Daniel C., eds. Proceedings, 19th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2014 March 10-12; Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-142. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 202-212. ​Wiedenbeck, Jan; Smith, Kevin T. 2019. Hardwood management, tree wound response, and wood product value. The Forestry Chronicle. 94(3): 292-306.

Research Interests

Silvicultural impacts on hardwood quality

Wood quality impacts related to natural disturbance and management activities

Biomass utilization

Processing optimization

Product recovery

Past Research

Lowell, Eini C; Wilson, Katherine; Wiedenbeck, Jan; Chan, Catherine; Friday, J. B.; Evans, Nicole. 2017. Consumer preference study of characteristics of Hawaiian koa wood bowls. BioProducts Business 2(5): 42-51. Wiedenbeck, Jan; Scholl, Matthew; Blankenhorn, Paul; Ray, Chuck. 2017. Lumber volume and value recovery from small-diameter black cherry, sugar maple, and red oak logs. Bioresources. 12(1): 853-870. Dey, Daniel C.; Dwyer, John; Wiedenbeck, Jan. 2017. Relationship between Tree Value, Diameter, and Age in High-Quality Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) on the Menominee Reservation, Wisconsin. Journal of Forestry. 115(5): 397-405. Buehlmann, Urs; Wiedenbeck, Janice K.; Kline, D. Earl. 1998. Character-marked furniture: potential for lumber yield increase in rip-first rough mills. Forest Products Journal. 48(4): 43-50.

Why This Research is Important

Hardwood quality affects hardwood utilization potential which frequently dictates what forest landowners can and will do with their forest resources. Improvements in processing hardwood products can lead to conversion efficiencies which allow U.S. manufacturers to operate more profitably and results in a larger portion of our nation's demand for forest products being fulfilled by domestic sources. Specific and real outcomes of this line of research include improved transportation and energy efficiencies, positive jobs impacts, the economic stability of rural communities, and reduced pressures on international forest resources that may be more vulnerable than our own.


  • Virginia Tech, Ph.D. Forestry and Wood Science, 1992
  • Virginia Tech, M.S. Forestry and Wood Science, 1988
  • University of Michigan, B.S. Forestry, 1980

Professional Experience

  • Project Leader for NRS-01 and NRS-02, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station 2018 - Current
  • Research Forest Products Technologist, NRS-01, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Princeton, WV 2012 - Current
  • Project Leader, NRS-01, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Princeton, WV 2010 - 2012
  • Research Forest Products Technologist, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Princeton, WV 2007 - 2010
  • Project Leader, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Princeton, WV 2003 - 2007
  • Research Forest Products Technologist, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Princeton, WV 1999 - 2003
  • Associate Professor, University of Kentucky, Department of Forestry 1997 - 1999
  • Project Leader, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Princeton, WV 1994 - 1996
  • Research Forest Products Technologist, USDA Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Blacksburg, VA 1992 - 1994
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Tech 1986 - 1992
  • Forester and dry kiln/mill supervisor, Crown Zellerbach, Inc.; Louisiana and Mississippi 1980 - 1986

Professional Organizations

  • Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST)
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF)
  • Forest Products Society (FPS) (1999 - 2000)

Awards & Recognition

  • Society of Wood Science and Technology Distinguished Service Award, 2020

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Wood, Frederica; Wiedenbeck, Janice K.; Yaussy, Daniel A.; Conner, Deborah A.; Porterfield, Elizabeth S. 2020. Tree grade, log grade and lumber grade yield data for 25 hardwood species from the eastern United States and Alaska. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

National Research Highlights

Basal fire scar showing demonstrating wound healing stages from multiple fire events.

Study Finds Prescribed Fire has Minor Effect on Timber Quality

Year: 2019

Prescribed fire can greatly improve regeneration of native tree species in the midwest and northeast, but what are the impacts on residual hardwood timber and wood product recovery? An unprecedented research project across nine counties in Indiana yielded much-needed answers.

The NRS LT visiting the demonstration area via the Zero Grade Trail, which has universal access design features.

Forest management demonstration area highlights working forest

Year: 2017

New research published in 2017 describes the results of a 60-year forest management demonstration area on the Fernow Experimental Forest and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

Small-diameter logs, especially when straight, can yield lumber volumes comparable to larger diameter logs. Jan Weidenbeck, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Small-diameter Hardwood Markets, Revisited

Year: 2016

Standard operating procedures for merchandizing hardwood roundwood from timber harvests is to ship small-diameter wood to a wood chipping/stranding operation for conversion into pulp, engineered wood/panel products, or wood pellets. These markets rarely yield a profit to forest landowners. Profits come when logs are sawn into lumber for high-end markets. Instead of assuming that sawmills cannot produce profit sawing small-diameter logs, Forest Service scientists put this long-held assumption to the test.

Top 20 energy conservation recommendations for SIC 24 (Lumber and Wood Products, Except Furniture) based on 437 assessments conducted under the Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program during the period 2000-July 2015.  If all of the 3,295 recommendations offered were implemented, the annual energy savings for this industry sector would be 10 percent per year.  Based on the actual implementation rate, the energy savings is 4.2 percent per year. USDA Forest Service

Forest Products Industry Competitiveness Strengthened Through Energy Management and Savings

Year: 2015

Cutting energy costs in wood products manufacturing is good for the environment and a long-overlooked way for companies to reduce their operating costs. The industrial sector of the United States uses over one-third of the total energy consumed in this country. Forest Service scientists found that nearly $7.9 million in annual energy savings have been implemented by wood products manufacturers based on energy assessments conducted since 2000 and that an additional $19.2 million in savings could be realized.

Fire damaged logs from the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia were transported to the mill for processing and analysis of potential losses in volume and quality. Jan Wiedenbeck, USDA Forest Service.

Fire in my hardwood forest... is my investment in my family's future lost

Year: 2014

Does the idea "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" apply when a low- to medium-intensity wildfire or prescribed fire has run through a hardwood woodlot or forest stand Timing has a lot to do with the answer to this question: If the forest isn't harvested for several decades, or it is harvested in less than a year, your hardwood trees are likely to produce lumber products that are only minimally affected by the fire event.

Hardwood logs at a harvest site in northern Wisconsin. Bumgardner, Matthew, USDA Forest Service

Scientists Investigate the Influence of Markets and Forest Management on Small-diameter Hardwood

Year: 2013

Despite the potential silvicultural advantages of removing some small-diameter trees during timber harvests, activities such as diameter-limit cutting remain somewhat common in hardwood forests. A lack of markets is often cited as a major cause, leading to research toward development of new production and marketing systems. But the absence of pre-harvest planning with involvement of a professional forester can play an important role in utilization as well. A recent study assessed the influence that markets and forest management were playing in a case setting where both were present to varying degrees.

Last modified: Wednesday, September 30, 2020