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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Forest Products Marketing Unit - An Overview

Purpose: The Forest Service, Forest Products Marking Unit (FPMU) was established to help ensure healthy, sustainable forests that are more resilient to disturbances by creating high-value, high-volume markets from woody biomass.

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The FPMU achieves success through a wide-range of cooperative working relationships, both internally and externally that strengthen technology development and applications across agency mission areas. The actions of the FPMU will result in new and expanded utilization and marketing opportunities of products and residues from a wide array of forest operations; forest health and land restoration activities; natural disaster recovery; and, urban forest utilization. These activities will be applicable across all landscapes along a complex rural-to-urban gradient including public, private and tribal lands and communities. Primary funding for the FPMU and associated actions, including the creation of incentives for increased use of biomass, shall be through Wildland Fire Management, hazardous fuels reduction. Other funds, specific to the purpose of planned work and authorities, will be used as needed. The FPMU will be located at the Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wis., and assigned to the Director of the Forest Products Laboratory, with close collaboration with all the Forest Service mission areas to ensure a cohesive, effective national program.

Background: State and Private Forestry originally defined a formal technology transfer working relationship with the Forest Products Laboratory in 1992. In 1996, the relationship was further extended to initiate a joint Technology Marketing Unit at the Forest Products Laboratory under the
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Forest Products Conservation and Recycling National Program. The objective of the Technology Marketing Unit was to transfer technology for integrating healthy environmental quality and economic growth through responsible use of forest resources to meet human needs. As paraphrased from a statement in the 1996 agreement:

"... The myth that technology can be developed by one group, then transferred by another group, has led to inefficiencies in technology implementation. The effective and efficient marketing of Research and Development forest products research requires strong leadership and a cooperative team effort with Research and Development, State and Private Forestry, and other technology marketing agents. This cooperative effort is used in customer problems and needs identification, project planning, research and development, packaging, communication, and implementation to produce results (i.e., customer satisfaction). Without a cooperative team effort, research papers and other products collect dust and customer needs go unmet."

Since 1996, the Technology Marketing Unit has been maintained at the Forest Products Laboratory, assigned to the Director of the Forest Products Laboratory, in a strong partnership with State and Private Forestry and other mission areas of the Forest Service, as appropriate. Recently, the unit has focused on administering a national woody biomass grants program, focusing on wood for energy.

The new FPMU expands a national scope to include biomass utilization grants for the development of new or existing high value markets for low value wood, including biomass for energy, wood-based nanotechnology, green building construction, and other forest products to increase the utilization of hazardous fuel wood and thereby accelerate forest restoration and help reduce the rate and size of catastrophic fires.

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This Charter provides the strategic framework for a broad-based FPMU combining knowledge, expertise and agency resources to focus on sustainable forestry through the conservation and wise use of wood and fiber, biomass energy, and other forest products to help ensure the trees, forests and forest ecosystems along the rural to urban land gradient in America are healthy and sustainable. The Charter will help guide an Implementation Plan that shall establish the foundation for an annual Plan of Work.

Objectives: The specific objectives of the FPMU are to:

  • Help accelerate forest restoration, improve economic conditions and create new jobs.
  • Strengthen forest products marketing, technology development and applications through a wide-range of strong working relationships and partnerships.
  • Create incentives for increased use of biomass through federal financial assistance..
  • Provide national coordination for creating higher value markets from low value wood through new, innovative forest products marketing and utilization opportunities across mixed ownerships along a complex rural to urban land gradient.
  • Extend forest products marketing technical assistance expertise across all mission areas of the Forest Service and other areas outside the agency, as needed.

Governance: The FPMU is a Forest Service program based on a strong, collaborative working relationship with all mission areas of the agency and a wide-range of external federal, state and other partners. The Director of the Forest Products Laboratory shall provide overall program direction for the FPMU in achieving annual Plan of Work goals under the broad oversight of the Forest Service Deputy Chiefs, as needed. The FPMU will focus on advancing programs that provide an efficient economic use for all forest based material to help meet the contemporary conservation challenges now and ahead. A key part of the governance process will be the approvals by the Deputy Chiefs of the FPMU Implementation Plan (guided by the Charter) and the annual POW, including the FPMU’s annual operating budget.