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Uses and Desirable Properties of Wood in the 21st Century

Wegner, Theodore, Skog, Kenneth E., Ince, Peter J., Michler, Charles J.
Journal of forestry 2010 v.108 no.4 pp. 165-173
forest products, forest trees, woody plants, wood quality, lumber, commercialization, new products, wood properties, forest yields, forest plantations, forest management, plant breeding, genetic improvement, biotechnology, United States
The desirability of specific wood properties is driven by a number of social, economic, and environmental factors that influence wood-use trends. This article discusses current continuing commercial uses of wood, significant new or emerging commercial uses, and desirable wood properties indicated by projected changes in wood use. Emerging issues and applications such as carbon markets/carbon sequestration, production of renewable energy, chemical feedstock production, and production of nano-enabled materials and products are expected to increasingly shape wood use as the 21st century progresses. However, current uses of wood are projected to remain the dominant uses for decades to come, and many desirable wood properties recognized as important to today's products will continue to be important. Projected expansion in US timber harvest will be matched by expansion of wood output from plantations. Advances in biotechnology will enable tailoring wood properties of plantation trees and short-rotation woody crops for specific end uses.