Monday, January 9, 2017

CLT Blast Testing

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a structural wood product that can be made from small diameter timber. This makes it a strong candidate for industrial use of some of the low-value wood product that needs to come off the Tahoe forests in order to restore ecological function and resilience to these damaged systems. As a bonus, CLT reduces the massive carbon footprint of concrete and steel in urban buildings.

Though very strong, fire- and seismic-resistant, CLT is not in the Universal Building Code...yet:
WoodWorks, in cooperation with the United States Forest Service and the Softwood Lumber Board, conducted a series of live blast tests on three cross-laminated timber (CLT) structures at Tyndall Air Force Base. All structures remained intact and matched modeling predications with acceptable levels of damage under significant explosive loading. WoodWorks will release a full analysis of testing results when available. The results will be used to further expand the use of wood solutions for Department of Defense applications and other blast-resistant construction.
 Check out that shockwave! Read more about these tests on the WoodWorks website.

Monday, January 2, 2017

STW updates

Saving The West continues to move forward with its goal of creating a small wood industry to restore ecological function to western forests. Some recent developments include:
  • A new website is under construction.
  • The Center for the Study of the Force Majeure was recruited this fall to submit a $100-million STW grant proposal to the MacArthur Foundation's 100&Change program. The proposal passed administrative review, and the foundation will announce semi-finalists in mid-January. Newton Harrison is also in conversation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute about STW; in 2014, the organization awarded a Fuller Challenge honorable mention to the Harrison's art project at Sagehen.
  • We are applying for grants to fund a LiDAR and Landsat analysis to determine the quantity and quality of woody material that would be removed should the STW demonstration area in central CA and western NV be treated to restore ecological function. This analysis applies the "8-Emphasis-Area" approach developed in the Sagehen Forest Project collaboration. Quantifying the available supply over the time spans required for investment capital repayment is traditionally the major stumbling block to moving forward with new markets. Due to the realities of implementation cost, the Forest Service currently designs projects around what they can sell on the current commodities market, which is not useful for making financial projections.
  • The Sagehen Forest Project model is now being implemented in the Lake Tahoe West Shore collaborative project, a big scaling up of the concepts.
  • We continue meeting with all kinds of people already working at the intersection of industry and forest management in CA and NV, creating synergies and opportunities. One interesting idea we are discussing with the Burning Man people is the use of Sagehen Project slash for the construction of structures like the Man or the Temple, as a way to spread these concepts to a global audience.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

SFP stakeholder visit

Meeting in the field on June 30, 2016 to view the current forestry work, 34 attendees representing 18 different organizations visited Sagehen to check in on the Sagehen Forest Project implementation. The group included the contractor, project funders, and members of the collaborative design process, as well as organizations and individuals involved in the upcoming Lake Tahoe west shore collaborative project:
UC Berkeley, Sagehen Creek Field Station
Truckee Ranger District, Tahoe NF, USFS
Tahoe National Forest
National Forest Foundation (NFF)
Sierra Nevada Conservancy, CA (SNC)
Wildife Conservation Board, CA (WCB)
Sierra Business Council (SBC)
Truckee Fire
Cal Fire
South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)
Lake Tahoe Conservancy, CA (CTC)
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA)
California State Parks
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, USFS
Private citizens
West Forest Inc.
Pacific Southwest Research Station, USFS
USFS Region 5
While mastication is certainly traumatic, everyone seemed pleased with the overall results so far, and eager to see fire on the ground. KGO-TV--the San Francisco Bay ABC affiliate--sent a reporter, and I'll post that piece when it is released.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Harpold lab research

Adrian Harpold, Ph.D., Nevada Mountain Ecohydrology Group, University of Nevada, Reno prepared this one-sheet to explain his work at Sagehen, titled "More Water and Healthy Forests? Improved Forest Management By Integrating LiDAR Remote Sensing and Hyper-Resolution Models".

Saving The West

The Sagehen Forest Project has spun off several remarkable related projects.

Saving The West (STW) is a policy document developed by the Center for the Study of the Force Majeure at UC Santa Cruz, including artist Newton Harrison and consultant Josh Harrison. STW is being developed as a rallying point to bring together a group of folks interested in addressing the glaring hole in the Sagehen Forest Project: the lack of a California market for raw wood product.

Going into the collaborative process, we all thought that getting environmentalists and loggers to agree would be the hard part. But, given a little time, that turned out to be relatively easy: everyone benefits from a healthy forest. Yet, now that we all agree on what needs to be done, we are stymied by the lack of someone to buy even the saw logs coming off the forest, much less the wood chip and small diameter wood. For the unit treatments around the station which are being funded by the National Forest Foundation (NFF) grant, we are just masticating everything into chip that will be burned on the ground. Or chopping and stacking logs into burn piles. This seems so wasteful: that material should be used, and continue to act as carbon storage.

The Center is working to put forestry issues onto the platform of the Democratic presidential nominee, as well as into the Governor's office. If these politicians start to hear about this need from both the scientists and the artists, it carries more weight and importance.

We have begun to bring Cathexis Architecture into the conversation. Cathexis has an impressive redevelopment project planned for a sizable chunk of downton Reno, NV, and they would like to build at least one wooden skyscraper. Binderholz, an Austrian company that manufactures engineered wood products, is planning to open a plant in the US. They are looking in the Pacific Northwest, but the NFF is reaching out to try to connect them with the Reno Dept. of Economic Development. If we could develop a market for wood product here, that reduces transportation costs to get material out of the forest.

The Proposal:
Related info: