PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University will co-sponsor a conference Dec. 14-15 when wood technology researchers, industry leaders and government agency representatives  gather to explore different ways to effectively use forest resources to reduce fire risk and restore forest health.

The Wood Utilization Solutions to Hazardous Fuels conference is scheduled for two locations: Dec. 14 at Spokane’s Red Lion at the Park and Dec. 15 in Pullman at the WSU Wood Materials Engineering Laboratory.  

Overstocked stands of dead and dying trees are a concern throughout the West because they increase the risk of insects, disease and wildfire. Many forests burned across the West in the early 1900s. Since that time, fire exclusion and management practices have resulted in overstocked stands.  Today, these densely-stocked stands cover 63 million acres or 44 percent of the inland Northwest.

The workshop will showcase technology that effectively uses the wood material removed from overstocked forests to provide forest managers, planners and community leaders with ways to improve both forest conditions and economic conditions of forest-based communities.

“The key factors in selecting technology to use small-diameter timber include matching resource characteristics to the final product, lowering costs by looking at vertically integrated industries, and identifying opportunities to increase product value,” says Eini Lowell, a research scientist at the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. “Market potential, support industry requirements and costs of capitalization of these technologies will also be addressed.”

The symposium is sponsored by the WSU Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory, Pacific Northwest Research Station/USDA Forest Service and WSU Extension. For more information and to register online, visit http://www.emmps.wsu.edu/woodutilization/index.html.