The nation’s forest systems, wood industries, and wildfires were the topic of a hearing last week in the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry with Randy Moore, the Chief of the USDA’s Forest Service. The hearing largely focused on wildfire management and prevention.
“We have a number of forests across the U.S. that are really maximizing their opportunities to use the tools to provide a timber supply. Keep in mind though, it’s about more than just providing commercial timber,” said Moore. “It’s also about creating healthy resiliency in our landscape that requires us to look at removing some of those hazardous fuels that are not commercial-grade timber.”
Moore said research and wood industry innovations go hand-in-hand with wildfire management.
“One of the things that we’re really trying to push to complement the existing infrastructure is wood innovations and we’ve invested in quite a bit of money, looking at wood innovations to utilize the type of material that we have out there that is serving as ladder fuels for the fires. It’s cross-laminated timber and the innovation behind it. It’s about biochar. It’s about biofuels. It’s about metal cellulosic material,” he said. “I think the more that we diversify the current infrastructure, the better able we’ll be to remove that material off of the forest and create economic opportunity.”
He said more funding is needed for research and innovations in the wood industry and made a case for that funding in the 2023 Farm Bill.
“We worked hard to leverage available authorities and funding. Obviously, there’s much more to do, especially with so much at stake. Your work on the next farm bill underpins our efforts to improve forest conditions and reduce stress to vulnerable communities and infrastructure,” said Moore.
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