Salvaged timber describes a category of wood sourced from forestlands damaged by fire, wind, insects, etc. By harvesting damaged timber, trees that would otherwise decay in the woods can find new life as cabinets, doors, fencing material, furniture, flooring, sashes, siding and trim.
Pine Beetle Wood
A significant amount of salvage lumber comes from forests decimated by mountain pine beetles. Nearly 90 million acres of timberlands have been destroyed by the rice-sized insect since the 1990s - an area roughly the size of Montana. The affected area stretches from the Dakotas to the Pacific coast and from Canada down to Colorado.
In addition to killing the tree, the mountain pine beetle introduces a fungus which creates a blue stain in the tree’s sapwood. That said, pine beetle wood is not blue through-and-through, and an increasing number of people seek out the naturally-stained wood for salvaged hardwood flooring, furniture, or artistic creations. It should also be noted that the fungus does not impact the wood’s strength, or prevent a hazard to humans.
Pine beetle wood can also be used as framing lumber, engineered wood products and numerous other construction projects. The Richmond Olympic Oval, constructed for the 2010 Winter Games, utilized more than one million board feet of pine beetle wood.
Fire Salvaged Timber
As a wildfire moves through the forest, it typically burns up tree branches and exterior bark, but the interior wood may remain sound. Douglas fir and lodgepole pine are excellent as salvage lumber but can become fuel for future wildfires if left to decay. Learn more about the relationship between forest management and forest fires.
Timber Products Company purchases substantial quantities of fire-killed timber from the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Our Yreka plant produces softwood veneer from wildfire-damaged wood, and logs that do not meet our high standards become wood chips.
Make the Sustainable Choice
During a tree’s life, it captures carbon through photosynthesis. As a damaged tree decays, the carbon is released back into the atmosphere. The Canadian Forest Service estimates that decaying beetle-killed trees could release almost a billion megatons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to five years of emissions from Canada’s transportation sector, by 2020. Salvage timber products prevent captured carbon from being re-released into the atmosphere.
Damage from beetle infestations and wildfires is devastating for forest lovers and timber product producers alike. By harvesting damaged timber, we maintain our commitment to environmental stewardship. Learn more about our commitment to sustainability.