You Can See the Forest and the Trees: Wood Works from the USDA

October 22, 2015

001-001-00704-8Wood you like to know more about tree and wood publications from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)? Then read on. And please forgive that starting pun.

In the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory’s 2nd edition of Nondestructive Evaluation of Wood, Robert J. Ross’ synthesizes a number of technical writings on several commercially available nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of wood technologies. NDE is the sensibly non-damaging science of assessing properties and applications of a material without mucking up its long-term usability.

Ross opens with an executive summary of the characteristics of this biologically and industrially rich material. It will leave you pretty much convinced that wood is the virtuoso of the plant world. The spiral-bound compilation continues on in several chapters, with each contributor highlighting the usefulness of their respective testing method. Spoiler alert: ultrasonic veneer grading is the coolest sounding evaluative technique ever.

Dense with authoritative knowledge from forest product technologist, engineers, and research scientists, this publication may have you thinking, “I never thought this knowledge existed but I’m sure glad it’s out there.” Case in point: chapter seven’s research titled Nondestructive Testing in the Urban Forest by Drs. Allision & Wang of the Unversity of Wisconsin, Madison. They attest to “body language” as a method to visually inspect the “presence of internal decay.” Don’t we all wish our own medical examinations were that easy!

Moving on…

001-001-00703-0If you like trees and you like maps, then you need to get your mittens on a copy of the USDA’s new and improved tree atlas The National Individual Tree Species Atlas, a.k.a. the Modeled Atlas, is the product of the Forest Service’s Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team. They used permanent plot data to represent the actual distribution of 264 species throughout the treed zones of the United States.

Each tree was statistically modeled to climate, terrain, soil, and imagery data sets. The result is an impressive collection of accurate, fine-resolution geospatial products. Thumb through the broad, matte pages and you’ll find beautifully mapped individuals from such august tree families as cypress, pine, maple, birch, walnut, elm, olive, and mulberry (can’t mention them all but tree names are awesome!).

Again, trees + maps = tree species atlas. Boom! Make room on your coffee table for it.

How do I obtain these publications?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. 

%d bloggers like this: