Although wood has been in use since prehistoric times as a construction material its use as a chemical raw material is a comparatively modern development. The utilization of wood as a raw material for paper production instead of the scarce and expensive rags marks a definite step in the progress of human civilization. But the paper industry utilizes less than 50 percent of the pulp wood which in turn is no more than 50 percent of the original tree. In wood distillation about 40 percent of the wood used is recovered in useful materials. This wood again is only about 50 percent of the original tree. In the lumber industry where the wood is used without chemical treatment the waste from the forest to the finished building or other product is very high. It seems evident that there are opportunities for more efficient utilization of wood particularly as a chemical material.
Arnold, L. K.
"Some Chemical Developments In Wood Utilization,"
Ames Forester: Vol. 26
, Article 4.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/amesforester/vol26/iss1/4