Medford BLM Forest Residue Bundler Evaluation Talking Points

Medford BLM Forest Residue Bundler Evaluation Talking Points
♦ The USDA Forest Service is studying new equipment that may help reduce the risk of
catastrophic wildfire by making it easier to remove tree limbs, tops, brush and other small
biomass typically removed in fire hazard reduction work.
♦ The machine is called a slash bundler—it compresses many small pieces of biomass into
“logs” wrapped with twine, which can be chipped and burned for heat or energy
♦ Slash bundlers provide a cleaner, healthier option to current biomass disposal methods. In
comparison to open burning, wood chip fired boilers produce far less particulates and
greenhouse gasses. Slash bundlers are engineered to create minimal ground disturbance.
♦ Over 20 slash bundlers are being used in Scandinavia to recover small biomass for
energy. The USDA Forest Service is studying the machine’s effectiveness in natural
forests of the western U.S., which are different in terms of density, species, soils, terrain,
and other factors than the evenly spaced managed forests of Scandinavia.
Key Points
The slash bundler is new technology.
It may help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.
It provides a cleaner, healthier, safer alternative to open burning.
It may generate new economic activity by making waste into a product.
Background and Details
♦ With broad agreement that we need to thin unnaturally dense forests near communities to
reduce wildfire risk, millions of tons of biomass are being generated.
♦ A recent USDA Forest Service Research and Development study found that at least 110
million bone-dry tons of non-merchantable biomass (limbs, tops and small diameter
stems) could be removed just from high-risk stands of timber in western U.S. forests.
♦ Disposing of small woody debris is problematic—open burning creates air quality and
health problems and the risk of fire escaping. Removing and transporting many small
pieces is expensive. Typically, small biomass has little or no commercial value.
♦ The slash bundler creates a usable commercial product—slash “logs” which can be
chipped and used for energy and heat. Markets for wood chips exist and are expanding.
♦ Studies were instigated by forest contractors, industry groups, public interests and
agencies, to gain objective information about the bundler’s capabilities, costs and impacts
to help them make sound business and resource management decisions.
♦ The USDA Forest Service is sponsoring studies at seven locations in Oregon, Idaho,
Montana, and California. The Forest Service’s Southern Research Station is
administering and implementing the studies. The State & Private Forestry office in the
Northern Region, the Southern Research Station, and the Bureau of Land Management
funded the Bitterroot Demonstration.
To download a video clip of the slash bundler in operation visit: (click on “Bundling”)
To view photos and a description of the slash bundler visit:
For photos, descriptions and a schedule of all slash bundler demonstrations visit:
For more information contact:
Blair Moody
USDI Bureau of Land Management, Medford District
Biomass Forester
(541) 618-2207
Bob Rummer
USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station Project Leader
Forest Operations Research
(334) 826-8700
Dan Len
USDA Forest Service Small Diameter Utilization Specialist
(970) 295-5751