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    Wood has always played an integral role in meeting our materials needs. The earliest evidence of woodworking dates back 1.5 million years to the modern human ancestor Homo erectus.1 Many characteristics that made wood a favorable material for our ancestors—relative abundance, ease of forming and shaping, exceptional strength-toweight ratio, aesthetic appeal—are the same characteristics that continue to make wood and forest products the material of choice for numerous applications today. Traditional forest products (e.g., paper, cardboard, dimensional lumber, plywood, oriented strandboard, laminated veneer lumber, medium density fiber board, and particleboard) have long played major materials roles in the packaging and building materials industries. However, during the past few decades, forest products have been expanding into new areas. This JOM special topic aims to bring attention to some of the most recent advances that are bringing wood and new forest products into increasingly diverse areas of materials research and development, with applications ranging from flexible electronics to skyscrapers. One increasingly attractive characteristic of wood as a natural resource is that, through proper management, wood resources can be utilized in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Forest products have the capability to play a major role in the development of advanced materials solutions to overcome our energy and environmental challenges.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Jakes, Joseph E. 2016. Recent advances in forest products research and development. Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials. 68(9): 2381-2382.


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    Wood, forest products, sustainability, forest restoration

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