The specific interest for the use of bark in materials, instead than for energy recovery, is owed to circular economy considerations, since bark fibers are normally byproducts or even waste from other sectors, and therefore their use would globally reduce the amount of
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The specific interest for the use of bark in materials, instead than for energy recovery, is owed to circular economy considerations, since bark fibers are normally byproducts or even waste from other sectors, and therefore their use would globally reduce the amount of refuse by replacing other materials in the production of composites. For the purpose of promoting their application in polymer composites, mainly under a geometry of short random fibers, bark fibers are extracted and treated, normally chemically by alkali. Following this, investigations are increasingly carried out on their chemical composition. More specifically, this includes measuring cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin content and their modification with treatment on their thermal properties and degradation profile, and on the mechanical performance of the fibers and of the tentatively obtained composites. This work aims at reviewing the current state of studies, trying to elicit which bark fibers might be most promising among the potentially enormous number of these, clarifying which of these have received some attention in literature and trying to elicit the reason for this specific interest. These can be more thoroughly characterized for the purpose of further use, also in competition with other fibers not from bark, but from bast, leaves, etc., and pertaining to developed production systems (cotton, hemp, flax, jute, etc.). The latter are already widely employed in the production of composites, a possibility scantly explored so far for bark fibers. However, some initial works on bark fiber composites and both thermoplastic and thermosetting are indicated and the importance of some parameters (aspect ratio, chemical treatment) is discussed.