U.S. Forest Service R&D Newsletter - September 2017
News from the Washington Office and Research Stations

Pinyon jays cache thousands of pinyon pine seeds for use in the winter and spring nesting season. Seeds that aren't recovered can germinate and grow into new trees. Surprisingly, however, jay populations are declining while woodlands are expanding. Scientists found that despite woodland expansion, only seven percent of the woodlands are suitable foraging habitat for the jays.
Scientists found that while grown eucalyptus trees use more water than loblolly pines, eucalyptus use water 40 percent more efficiently. Due to their heightened efficiency and fast growth rates, eucalyptus use less water to grow the same amount of woody biomass as loblolly pine.
As fire exclusion, harvesting practices, and livestock grazing alter forest compositions in many western forests, Forest Service land managers adapt their fire mitigation strategies to include more fuel thinning treatments and prescribed burns.

New research found that the effects of acid rain linger in northeastern forests. This study found that soil conditions are improving for sugar maple, but maple is not faring well due to competition with other species.
A recent study evaluated the extent of fuel treatments and wildfire occurrence within lands managed by the Forest Service. Forty-five percent of lands received fuel treatments or experienced natural wildfire. But areas with the highest wildfire hazard risk received the least amount of treatments, suggesting an alternative distribution of treatments may be beneficial.
In September, the Northern Research Station and its partners celebrated 50 years of silviculture research in Allegheny hardwood and mixed oak forests. SILVAH, a framework designed by scientists and partners to communicate research results, helps managers and scientists share information and emerging problems surrounding silviculture.
Soybeans were used to glue the first plywood but were replaced by fossil fuel-based adhesives after World War II. Scientists at the Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory have helped soy adhesives return to plywood and are helping to find more applications for this bio-based glue.

By 1930, the golden age of lumber harvesting was over. But from as early as the mid-1930s, Forest Service researchers worked with industry lumbermen to develop forest regeneration practices to restore and maintain forest resources.
Nanocellulose is a wood fiber broken down to the nanoscale. (A nanometer is roughly one-millionth the thickness of a dime.) Nanocellulose based materials are exceedingly strong and light. The Forest Service Forest Products Lab is developing various types of environmentally friendly nanocellulose products aimed at replacing toxic, non-biodegradable materials used in high-tech products, such as smart phones and tablets.
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