The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.
Q: What types of products come from Minnesota forests?
A: Paper, lumber and engineered wood panel products are the most familiar. Today’s lumber mills produce many different sizes and grades of lumber – along with paneling, millwork, pallets, beams, squares, cants, rough timber and more. Minnesota’s pulp and paper industry consists of four mills, each manufacturing different types of paper used in copy machines, magazines and high-quality printing. Engineered wood panel products include oriented strand board, siding and sheathing used primarily in housing construction.
Products not so well known include the production of larch arabinogalactan, an ingredient used in food, dietary supplements and personal care products. The emerging bio-chemical industry produces tree-based solvents, which are petroleum substitutes useful in making bio-based plastics and home cleaning products.
Commercial timber and paper processing also generate wood waste (bark, sawdust and forest residuals), which can then be used as a fuel source to produce heat, steam and power. One of Minnesota’s paper mills also produces a special cellulose pulp used to manufacture clothing.
Seasonal decorations represent another type of forest product that shouldn’t be overlooked. Several conifer species are harvested each year as Christmas trees, and their boughs are gathered to make wreaths. Many decorative holiday planters and crafts are produced from Minnesota tree parts like spruce tips and white birch branches.
The list of products from our forests includes much more when we consider the wildlife, recreation, fresh water and other benefits the forest ecology provides.
Kent Jacobson, DNR timber business program consultant