Pulpwood Species

The pulp is a clean, wood-based, renewable, and biodegradable raw material. It can be used to produce paper, tissue, board, and specialty paper – making them truly sustainable bio-products. The pulp is also a term used to refer to trees that are grown with the intention of harvesting the timber for use in the production of paper products. Several different types of trees can be used in the creation of this type of wood product, and are usually harvested when they are still relatively young. Along with use in the production of paper products, wood pulp is used in the creation of various types of wood products utilized in the manufacture of inexpensive furniture as well as in clothing and cosmetics.

The single most common purpose behind pulpwood harvesting is the manufacturing of paper products. Writing paper, as well as computer and copy paper, are made from wood pulp. Household products like paper towels, napkins, disposable plates, and toilet paper are also created using wood pulp Even the glossy paper used in the production of magazines makes use of wood pulp.

“An important aspect as well is that dead trees can also be used for pulpwood”

As the size of the trees in a timber stand increase in height and diameter, they become more valuable since more product classes are available. When a tree grows into a more valuable product class, this is called “in growth.”

In a properly managed timber stand, trees with the highest potential will be left to grow into high-value products, such as poles and saw timber - a process that can take 25 to 30 years or more. To help the higher-quality trees reach their full potential and value, lower-quality trees will be selected and removed from the stand, often around the 12 – 15-year mark, depending on your stand’s genetics. This is what’s known as a “thinning.” Once harvested, the lower quality trees are processed into CNS or pulpwood, which return lower but still substantial values.

How to Measure Pulpwood?

Trees of any size can be used for pulpwood, but trees in the range of 5 to 9 inches D.B.H. (diameter at breast height) are normally used. These trees are cut after a saw timber harvest or as a separate operation to thin a crowded stand.

Sometimes, low-quality stands are completely harvested for pulpwood to regenerate the forest to more desirable species.

Also, larger trees with disease or defects that prevent their use for lumber will be used as pulpwood.

Pulpwood is often measured in cords or, more recently, in tons. Cords measure volume, and the amount of wood in a cord varies somewhat, depending on the size of the logs in the stack. A cord of logs 20 inches in diameter will have less air space than a cord of logs 8 inches in diameter. Today, it is common that pulpwood referred to using tons.