Got Nature? Blog

As part of a new educational video project, Purdue Extension offers essential tips on how to select veneer trees and logs that demand a premium.

The video features Dan Cassens, a professor of wood products at Purdue University, and Greg Hartog of Danzer Americus in Edinburgh, Ind. They give comprehensive details about preferred tree species as well as characteristics, including defects, that are important to the veneer industry.

The advice should be of particular interest to landowners, log brokers, sawmill operators and forestry consultants in Indiana and throughout the hardwood region. Indiana has had a long history of supplying the industry with quality veneer logs and veneer since the early 1900s, Cassens said.

For full Purdue Agriculture News article view New Video Gives Lessons on Selecting Premium Hardwoods for Veneer Industry.

Designing Hardwood Tree Plantings for Wildlife, The Education Store
Diseases in Hardwood Tree Plantings, The Education Store
Environmental and Management Injury in Hardwood Tree Plantations, The Education Store
Importance of Hardwood Tree Planting, The Education Store
Invasive Species in Hardwood Tree Plantations, The Education Store

Daniel Cassens, Professor of Wood Products,
Purdue University of Forestry and Natural Resources

Program Impacts identity


Woodlands provide a multitude of environmental (e.g., carbon sequestration, enhance water quality, wildlife habitat), economic (e.g., timber, wood products manufacturing, tourism), and social (e.g., recreation, aesthetics) benefits to Indiana residents. The sustainability of these benefits is strongly tied to stability of the resource. In Indiana, 75 percent of the 4.65 million acres of forestland is owned by families. Actions they take on their property can impact the benefits woodlands provide all Indiana residents. However, many do not understand available options or sources of assistance.

What Has Been Done:

Indiana Woodland StewardThe Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, in partnership with many other organizations, helps produce and mail over 31,000 copies of the Indiana Woodland Steward to woodland owners three times each year. This 16-page, two-color publication includes in-depth articles on forest stewardship and health, invasive species and pests, wildlife habitat management, economics, and more.


Subscribers owned more woods (71.6 ac) for a longer tenure (33 years) than the average woodland owner in Indiana based on data from the National Woodland Owner Survey. As a group, they were also more active managers based on the proportion enrolled in assistance programs and who had a written stewardship plan. Fifty-four percent regularly utilized information from the Woodland Steward. In addition, 51 percent of respondents have implemented at least one practice they read about from The Woodland Steward, potentially impacting an estimated 1.2 million acres of forestland. His use of print media to communicate with woodland owners could be considered expensive, but clearly a large number of woodland owners regularly read and utilize the information making the average investment per landowner much lower.

IDNR Video PictureThe Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has released its latest video – Indiana’s Working Forests.

This video explores the origins of Indiana’s state forest system that developed after pioneer settlers cleared the original forests and left behind a nearly barren landscape.

State forests were established to demonstrate how to use science to grow and sustain healthy forest systems. Beginning with just 2,000 acres at Clark State Forest in 1903, the DNR Division of Forestry has expanded to cover more than 156,000 acres at 15 sites.

In the video, IDNR Forestry professionals discuss how management practices contribute to forest health by mimicking natural disturbances. Those practices promote regeneration of oaks and hickories that are valuable food sources for many forest wildlife species. They explain that although timber harvests have increased in recent years, the selective approach they use removes less than 1 percent of the available trees in any given year.

FNR graduate wildlife student Patrick Ruhl, Purdue adviser Dr. J. Barny Dunning, Jr., shares how the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment provides him the opportunity to study the effects of forest management and the changes that are taking place among migratory songbirds. This project is a collaborative effort with the following sponsors: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry; Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Diversity Section; Purdue University; Indiana Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society; National Geographic Society; and The Wildlife Management Institute. To view more partners view the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment website:

A Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Forestry: Part 1: Sustainable Forestry – What does it mean for Indiana?, The Education Store
Indiana Forest Issues and Recommendations, The Education Store
The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Indiana Forestry and Wildlife, The Education Store
Forest Ecosystem Management in Indiana, The Education Store
Forest Ecosystem Management in the Central Hardwood Region, The Education Store

Phil Bloom, Director
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Recently, questions and concerns have come to the Division of Forestry from forest landowners and Consultant Foresters regarding the sale of black walnut trees now, because of Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD).

First, an update on the status of TCD in Indiana.

The Divisions of Entomology & Plant Pathology and Forestry have conducted TCD surveys since 2011 following the first confirmed detection of TCD in the eastern United States – Knoxville, TN August 2010.

The annual surveys include two visual surveys for symptomatic trees and a trapping survey for the Walnut Twig Beetle (WTB), the confirmed vector of the TCD fungus, Geosmithia morbida.

One visual survey occurs in 10 urban areas/cities each year. The other visual survey is gypsy moth trap tenders reporting walnut trees (healthy or with dieback) near each trap location.

In 2015, the urban areas/cities survey examined 1,431 walnut trees and the trap tenders reported 842 walnut trees. Of these only 26 had dieback and none were confirmed with TCD. Since 2011 over 40 urban areas/cities totaling over 3,700 walnut trees and over 5,200 walnut trees reported by trap tenders have been surveyed and less than 2% reported dieback and none had TCD.

The WTB survey involves setting traps baited with the WTB lure. A detection survey sets traps at high risk sites (sawmills, veneer mills, log consolidation yards, green waste sites and along the Ohio border to Butler County Ohio). A delimit survey is conducted at the sawmill in Franklin County and the walnut plantation at Yellowwood State Forest in Brown County due to the detection of WTB and Geosmithia morbida, respectively, at these locations.

In 2015, 249 traps were placed in the detection and delimit surveys. 2,592 samples were examined from the traps. The only detection of WTB was from traps at the sawmill in Franklin County.

Results of the survey efforts are:

  • TCD has NOT been detected and confirmed from a black walnut tree in the state of Indiana.
  • There are NO dead or dying black walnut trees in Indiana from TCD.
  • There is NO widespread TCD mortality in Indiana and none is expected in the near future
  • The components of TCD – WTB and Geosmithia morbida – have been detected in Indiana.
  • WTB has been detected in traps, NOT in standing trees.
  • Geosmithia morbida has been detected from a weevil, Stenomimus pallidus, which was collected from a study tree in the Yellowwood State Forest plantation.
  • There are NO TCD infected walnut trees in the Yellowwood State Forest Plantation.

Also, there are NO reports of widespread walnut mortality from TCD in the infested states of Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Therefore, if you are approached to sell your black walnut trees now because the “Walnut Disease” (TCD) is coming and you should sell before it gets to your woods, the response and recommendation is to contact your consulting forester or district forester for advice, follow your current management plan and do not sell the walnut just because of TCD.

I do not anticipate rapid and widespread mortality of walnut once TCD is confirmed from an Indiana black walnut tree.

For more information, visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Thousand Canker Disease webpage or contact
Forest Health Specialist/State Entomologist Phil Marshall at 317.232.4189 or

Thousand Cankers Disease – Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).
Thousand Cankers Disease – website provided by Purdue FNR, HTIRC, American Walnut Manufacturers Association, and the Walnut Council.
Study: Fungus behind deadly disease in walnut trees mutates easily, complicating control – Purdue Agriculture News.

Phil Marshall, Forest Health Specialist and State Entomologist
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Woody Biomass Harvesting videoBiomass harvesting refers to harvesting where more woody material is gathered than in a traditional sawtimber harvesting. Material down to four inches in diameter is harvested along with large trees for veneer logs and saw logs. Small trees and tops are chipped and used for paper pulp and boiler fuel.

During October of 2012, a biomass harvesting project was started by harvesting a 100 acre tract of hardwood timber at the Southeastern Purdue Ag Center (SEPAC). The tract was divided into several treatment areas demonstrating various forms of harvesting including traditional clearcutting, biomass harvesting, and areas left uncut. The goal of this project was twofold: to determine the volume and value of the products produced using biomass harvesting compared to the traditional methods, and to gain a more thorough understanding of what happens to a harvest site following biomass harvesting when restoration practices are used.

The harvest site has experienced a rapid recovery of new vegetation. Forbs, shrubs, tree seedlings, and sprouts densely covered the ground and began providing new wildlife habitats and the beginnings of a new diverse forest area.

The new Extension video “Woody Biomass Harvesting at Purdue University” explores this process in further depth, showing the harvest as well as the aftermath and regrowth. It also introduces a Purdue Extension – FNR developed web application called the Woody Biomass Calculator. This calculator can be used by landowners, foresters, and wood products harvesters and managers to estimate the volume and value of several different wood product groups and tree species, including woody biomass. Before harvesting, consider using this tool to evaluate if biomass harvesting is a better choice than traditional sawtimber harvesting for you.

Woody Biomass Harvesting at Purdue University – Studying the Advantage Over Traditional Harvesting – Purdue Extension
Woody Biomass Calculator – Purdue Extension – FNR
Harvesting Biomass: A Guide to Best Management Practices – IDNR Division of Forestry
Woody Biomass Feedstock for the Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industries – IDNR Division of Forestry
IN Wood Industry Facts – Purdue FNR Wood Research Laboratory

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Posted on October 9th, 2015 in Forestry, Wood Products/Manufacturing | No Comments »

logsLooking for quality firewood to heat your home this winter? The Purdue Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) has you covered with their annual firewood sale.
Air-dried birch, ash, cherry, black locust, and other local hardwoods are available in 4′ by 8′ by 16″ stacks, and can be delivered to homes or cabins in Tippecanoe County by members of SAF. Each stack of firewood is competitively priced at $80, and those interested can contact Evan Watkins at (260) 243-1710, or at

Forestry Students – Society of American Foresters
Wood for Home Heating – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Purdue expert: Firewood has pros and cons for home heating – Purdue University News Service
Don’t Move Firewood – Purdue Extension Entomology
Campers advised of new rule on firewood transport – Purdue University News Service

Purdue Student Chapter of Society of​ American Foresters ​

LogsArticle shared in NASF May 15, 2015, E-Newsletter​
Lloyd Alter, Managing Editor​

As we continue to burn through our nonrenewable resources at an alarming rate, it is important that we never underestimate what we can do with our resources that can be replenished. One of these, wood, is an extremely valuable material but has been underutilized in construction for one big reason: fires. Every so often, a wood structure like the 188-unit apartment complex in Richmond, BC, burned down in 2010 goes up in a blaze and hinders the support of timber construction in a big way. While this is a valid concern, there are several things to consider before abandoning hope. Most of the big building fires covered by the news have been on uncompleted buildings still under construction. This means that fire suppression systems haven’t been installed yet, and oftentimes incomplete floors lacking fire-retardant drywall, or walls of any kind, give the fire huge ventilated areas to spread. This is hardly fair to mark these fires as a failure of wooden construction. In completed buildings, close to 80 percent of fires are contained to the rooms they are started in.

Furthermore, fire damage isn’t limited to wooden buildings. Structures made of concrete, steel or other construction materials can still weaken and collapse under the heat of a fire. In fact, heavy timber resists fire very well, burning slowly and creating a layer of char that helps to preserve the structural integrity of the inside wood.A recent advancement in timber technology to note is Cross-Laminate Timber​, or CLT. CLT is made from stacks of industrially dried and fully glue-coated lumber. It is exceptionally strong, multi-purpose and lightweight. Construction using CLT is quick because it is easy to prefabricate and transport. Like heavy timber, CLT produces a layer of char when burned, and when used in construction, engineers factor in this layer and use enough wood to allow charring to form while still maintaining enough internal wood to be structurally sound. Also cosmetically, CLT looks pleasing and can be left exposed, reducing building cost. CLT has been considered the future of wood-based construction and for good reason.

So with some of the negative stigma of wooden construction debunked and the values of timber buildings explained, this leaves the biggest value of it all to think about: renewability. Timber is the only 100% renewable material for building construction. One billion cubic meters of logs are produced each year in North America and Europe alone, creating 200 million cubic meters of engineered timber and done in a careful way so that forests maintain their size. This is enough material to build 150,000 offices a year. Timber also locks up carbon that was absorbed by the tree during its growth, reducing pollution. As we look to the future, we should look to the trees. It’s time for timber construction.

NASF May 15, 2015 E-Newsletter​, National Association of State Foresters​
Making the Case for Wood Construction, Treehugger
Timber Offices: The Time Has Come, ARUP
The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center (search “timber”)
What is Cross Laminated Timber? American Wood Council​​
2014 Indiana Forest Products Price Report and Trend Analysis, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

National Association of State Foresters

Posted on April 28th, 2015 in Wood Products/Manufacturing | No Comments »

We assist wood products manufacturers and consumers in gaining the greatest benefit from responsible use of wood by developing new knowledge to reduce raw material costs, improve processing technologies and encourage innovation in product development, thus integrating industrial competitiveness with natural resource conservation through science and engineering.

Wood Research Laboratory

Wood Products Lab, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources, website.The wood products extension group is associated with the Wood Research Laboratory at Purdue FNR. The Wood Research Laboratory addresses timely research and technology transfer topics in the areas of product and process engineering of wood based products/sustainable biomaterials; their use, reuse and care.

The Wood Products Team is committed to education and aiding professionals around the globe.

Wood Products Extension Programs

The Wood Research Lab assists wood products manufacturers and consumers in gaining the greatest benefit from responsible use of wood by developing new knowledge to reduce raw material costs, improve processing technologies, and encourage innovation in product development, thus integrating industrial competitiveness with natural resource conservation through science and engineering. View current list of Wood Products Extension Programs.

Indiana Wood Industry

The Wood Research Lab web site has interesting Indiana Wood Industry Facts including how many firms and average annual wage.

Helpful Links:
View map of Indiana Hardwood businesses, Purdue Center for Regional Development, Esri Map-Indiana Hardwoods.

The Indiana Forest Products Price Report and Trend Analysis is provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Division of Forestry. This report lists prices paid for delivered logs, not trees. The forest products price report will give you an idea of the wide variation in prices by species and log quality. For timber marketing experts a list of Professional Foresters is available Find an Indiana Forester or you can contact your IDNR District Forester.

Take an Online Tour: Hardwoods of Central Indiana

Hardwood Tour Video

Hardwoods of the Central Midwest

The central Midwest is one of the most productive biological regions in the world. It’s a place where the eastern forest intermixes with the western prairies. The terrain is gentle, the soils are rich and highly productive, and moisture is normally abundant. This combination of factors makes the region noteworthy for its agricultural productivity. The same combination of factors also produces timberlands with the finest and highest quality temperate hardwoods in the world.

The Gallery of Hardwoods located on Purdue campus in the Pfendler Hall building has 27 samples of hardwood species in Indiana. You can explore and learn more with this online tour that is now available on The Purdue Arboretum Explorer – Hardwoos of the Central Midwest website.


Manufacturing and Marketing Eastern hardwood Lumber Produced by Thin Kerf Band Mills​This full-color, soft-cover book brings together a lifetime of sawmill experience and technical training to help readers solve lumber manufacturing problems and save money. It includes chapters on wood quality and characteristics, softwood lumber grading, logs for fine face veneer, wood residues and potential markets, sales techniques and more. It is a comprehensive reference guide for those who manufacture and market Eastern hardwood lumber in the United States. While it’s written for owners of small, home-based lumber mills, the information is also useful for traditional lumber manufacturers.The author has spent 30 years in close association with both the hardwood lumber and veneer-producing industries, as well as with the users of hardwood products. He has participated in hundreds of plant visits, organized and conducted many educational seminars and written extensively.

This 380-page book was produced in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service.

View sample pages of the book or place an order through The Education Store, Manufacturing and Marketing Eastern hardwood Lumber Produced by Thin Kerf Band Mills.

Lumber from Hardwood Trees, The Education Store
The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center (Find apps, publications, videos and much more)

​​Daniel Cassens, Professor of Wood Products
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

FNR Undergraduate Extension Internship​FNR is pleased to announce a new program that will provide undergraduate extension internship opportunities for qualified students this summer. This is an exciting program with the potential to build on an already strong set of FNR extension programs while providing valuable experience and training for undergraduates.

Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources seeks candidates for extension internship positions. The department extension program has a broad environmental scope including fisheries, forest management, invasive species, urban forestry, sustainability, wildlife and wood products. Student interns can enhance their career potential through practical, hands-on experience. Our extension internship program can help you:

  • Develop leadership and decision-making skills in handling creative challenges
  • Gain experience developing extension products including publications, online videos, presentations and/or more
  • Participate in professional development opportunities
  • Build professional references and contacts
  • Clarify career goals
  • Learn from a diverse and experienced group of natural resources professionals

Internships are open to non-Purdue students. Requirements for the position(s) include status as a junior or senior level college student in natural resources or related discipline, minimum 3.0 GPA, evidence of initiative, independence and commitment to conservation of natural resources. Internships are available for summer term (up to 40 hours/wk., up to 8 weeks) with pay at a rate of $12 per hour. Internship start dates and work hours are flexible depending on the applicant’s availability.

FNR Extension Internship Application and Information, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
Renewable Resources Extension Act Strategic Plan​, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)

Brian MacGowan​, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University​

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