Scientists and businesses continue to innovate new and unique ways to use wood material, which certainly bodes well for the future of the forest products industry.
Global concern about climate change and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has put the industry in a strategic position to address those concerns. Sustainably managed forests can play a significant role in mitigating climate change because a healthy, growing forest absorbs and stores carbon dioxide in trees while releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. When the trees are harvested for forest products, the carbon stays stored in the wood for the lifetime of the product.
Innovative wood products are continually being developed. Many products that people use every day – including bath towels, toothpaste, nail polish, medications, and paints – are produced using components derived from wood. In addition, tall buildings are being developed with cross-laminated timber (CLT), replacing non-renewable building materials like concrete and steel. Woody biomass (chips, bark, sawdust, etc.) is being converted into sustainable biomaterials to replace harmful and toxic plastics and into biofuels, a renewable energy source.
Wood is increasingly being seen as an alternative material for many applications. For example, Modvion, builders of wooden wind turbine towers, have created new wooden wind turbines from laminated veneer lumber (LVL). Wooden wind turbines are not only light and strong, more efficient, and less expensive, but they can also be transported in separate pieces and built on-site, allowing them to be built higher, in more locations, and with more flexibility.