Utilization of Beetle-Killed Southern Pine
George Woodson – Prepared under contract with the Forest Service, U.S. Dpearment of Agriculture Forestry Associate Professor, Wood Utilization, School of Forestry, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA.
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, General Technical Report WO-47.
Up to now, beetle-killed timber has been underutilized because its value has been misjudged. Reluctance on the part of timber buyers to use such material has left mill managers with the option of either suppressing prices or refusing to process this type of wood. But recent research has shown that beetle-killed pulpwood and sawtimber can be utilized for a wide variety of wood products (table 3) if trees are harvested and processed soon after attack. Lumber grade in beetle-killed trees is lower than for healthy ones, but yields of particleboard, hardboard, and pulp are similar for both types. In addition, a lower moisture content makes beetle-killed pine an economical purchase for those who buy wood on a weight basis, since it yields more fiber per dollar than healthy pine. The development of the SAMTAM and SAMTAM II sawmill analysis models now takes the guesswork out of profit and loss determinations in processing beetlekilled logs and can make their increases utilization an attractive option for many wood products.
Table 3 – Utilization guidelines for beetle-killed trees¹
|Product||Class A||Class B||Comments|
|Lumber – appearance||Not recommended||Not recommended||Blue-stain prohibits use.
|Lumber – dimension||Can be used
|Not recommended||Should be kiln dried to prevent emergence of secondary
insects. Low moisture content may dull saws and chipper knives faster
than with sound wood and may require milder kiln schedule. Do not use
where toughness is important.
|Lumber – decorative boards and paneling
||Can be used||Can be used||Should be kiln dried.|
|Posts, poles, piling||Not recommended||Not recommended||Toughness and preservative treatability may be highly
|Plywood||Can be used||Not recommended||Adhesive and guiding practices may have to be adjusted.
medium density fiberboard.
|Can be used||Can be used||Low moisture content may affect some production schedules.
Should be mixed with sound wood.
|Pulp||Can be used||Can be used||Blue-stain and low moisture content may affect pulping
process and chemical or energy requirements. Should be mixed with
sound wood, particularly where strength is important.
|Fuelwood||Can be used||Can be used||Low moisture content increases heat value.|
¹ Source: M.P. Levi, 1981.
Developed by the University of Georgia Bugwood Network in cooperation with USDA Forest Service - Forest Health Protection, USDA APHIS PPQ, Georgia Forestry Commission, Texas Forest Service
and the Pests and Diseases Image Library - Australia
Last updated August 2018
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