The Maine Woods: A Landscape of Working Forests and Collaborative Conservation

Conference registration now open for the conference to be held in Bangor and Maine’s North Woods, October 3-5, 2017. Topics include: managing forests at a landscape scale, working forest conservation easements, aquatic connectivity, and public use of private lands. For more information click on the link below.

Tenth Annual Private Lands Partners Day

 

ECANUSA Conference Proceedings Released

The Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference has just released the Proceedings of the 8th Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference. The conference was focused on the many stressors and agents of change converging on the region’s forests. Scientists and practitioners from a large spectrum of expertise made presentations on research, monitoring, management and outreach activities to address the many challenges that our changing environment present to the sustainable management of the regions forest resource. Abstracts of all presentations are included in the proceedings.

Forest Economic Growth Inititative

Patrick Strauch, Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council, discusses the next steps in the long-awaited “roadmap” for Maine’s forest economy.

 

2016 Annual Report Released

Cover image for 2016 CRSF annual reportThe 2016 CRSF Annual Report is now available.

Carbon Credit Programs Among SFI Participants in Maine

Maine has 17.6 million acres of forests, 17.1 million acres (97%) of which is considered timberland. Maine forest landowners are growing more wood than they harvest, and the carbon in the state’s forests has increased in volume by almost 5% from 2004 to 2012. Over eight million acres in Maine is managed according to the sustainability standards of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. (SFI), and/or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), or the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) — a key eligibility criterion for carbon credit programs. Yet, none of the 6.3 million acres of SFI‐certified lands in Maine are enrolled in a carbon credit program — not for lack of interest, because all of Maine’s SFI participants have considered carbon credits. Maine landowners who participate in other certification programs or adhere to a sustainable long‐term management plan approved by a
state or federal agency have enrolled tens of thousands of acres in carbon agreements worth millions of dollars.
“Adoption of Carbon Credit Programs among SFI Participants in Maine,” the recently released report by Keeping Maine’s Forest, analyzes the degree to which forests managed to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s (SFI) standards in Maine are enrolled in carbon credit programs; analyzes the opportunities and constraints these programs represent for landowners; and examines the strengths and weaknesses of different landowner types when considering enrolling land in a carbon credit program. The study examines the value that sustainability certification adds to the process of obtaining carbon credits, and how changes to the protocol for obtaining carbon credits might enhance the incentives to enroll land.

Forests for Maine’s Future: Maine Just Wants to Be A Forest

The Eastern U.S.: Just Gotta Be a Forest?

http://forestsformainesfuture.squarespace.com/fresh-from-the-woods-journal/the-eastern-us-just-gotta-be-a-forest.html

By JOE RANKIN, for Forests for Maine’s Future, March 23, 2017

Maine is the most forested state in the nation. About 90 percent.

It wasn’t always that way, of course. European settlers in eastern North America initially confronted what they considered a fearful wilderness of trees. But when settlement ramped up, farmers expeditiously cleared millions of acres of trees to grow fodder for their animals and food for themselves. In Maine, the agricultural tide began to ebb in the mid-1800s and the trees came back.

You’ve probably heard it said that Maine just wants to be a forest. But it’s not just Maine. The whole eastern U.S. “wants” to be a forest. It’s apparently the region’s ecological default setting, though the tree species vary from loblolly pine in the south to tulip poplar to white pine to shagbark hickory and yellow birch, to spruce and fir.

But, why? Read on . . . 

Influence of Spatial Structure on Forest Growth and Stand Dynamics

Northeastern States Research Cooperative logoNSRC researchers Aaron Weiskittel, Christian Kuehne, and Shawn Fraver examined effects of forest thinning treatments on forest stand and individual-tree growth and on changes in forest structure. Researchers also assessed how distance from forwarder (machinery that carries logs) trails influences individual-tree growth. They used measurements from six spruce-fir study locations across northern Maine that were not thinned until the study was initiated ten years ago. Thinning treatments included a non-thinned control and combinations of thinning method (low, dominant, or crown) and level of relative tree density reduction (33% or 50%). Researchers mapped tree stems and measured tree diameters annually for ten post-treatment years. Although high numbers of trees died in some of the thinned stands, tree growth rates in the low thinning treatments remained at relatively high levels throughout the study period. This suggests there is plenty of ongoing productivity potential in stands that were significantly less structurally modified by thinning. Full report available from nsrcforest.org.

 

Webinar: Responses of Northern Forest Tree Species to Climate Change and Drought

NSRC Logo

Webinar:  Responses of Northern Forest Tree Species to Climate Change and Drought
Heidi Asbjornsen and Matt Vadeboncoeur

University of New Hampshire
Abstract:  Climate change forecasts predict that the northeastern U.S. will see both an increase in total annual rainfall and a higher frequency of prolonged dry spells.  The extreme drought that affected much of New England during the summer of 2016 served as first glimpse of what such a future climate may look like.  This webinar presents the results from ongoing research in our lab focused on understanding the impacts of climate change, especially drought, on northern forests.  Additionally, we also consider the potential impacts of climate change on the capacity of northern forests to provide important ecosystem services to the region’s communities, such as water resources, the production of timber, maple syrup, and other forest products, hydrologic regulation, and carbon storage.  Specifically, this webinar presents results from research conducted across the northeast, as well as from several long-term experiments in New Hampshire.  We show that across the region, trees growing in warmer climates (PA, WV) exhibit greater sensitivity to moisture stress compared to trees growing in the northern states (ME, VT, NH, NY), and that species differ significantly in responses to different climate variables.  We also found that during the height of the drought in late August and early September, white pine, hemlock, and red oak trees experienced severe moisture stress, as indicated by the almost complete cessation of water uptake. However, red oak exhibited less drought sensitivity, as indicated by its ability to continue photosynthesizing even when soils were very dry.  We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for the sustainability and management of New Hampshire’s forests for diverse ecosystem services in the face of future climate change.
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 AMWebinar Instructions: Follow the link below to register for the webinar. You will receive a confirmation email with instructions to join the webinar. Please log in a few minutes prior to the event so you don’t miss anything! 

If you are interested in attending the seminar in person, please let us know as space is limited.

Register

Maine’s Forest Products Industry Ready to Reinvent Itself

It’s time for Maine’s forest products industry to reinvent itself. Here’s how.

Posted Jan. 19, 2017, at 8:42 a.m.
Maine’s forest products industry finds itself in an unusual position. Instead of having markets for every part of the tree, we’ve seen a 25 percent reduction in markets because of global economic forces. This has reduced its economic impact by $1 billion, shuttered six mills and cost the state more than 5,000 good jobs.

We’ve also seen an outpouring of support from Maine’s congressional delegation, Gov. Paul LePage and other state leaders. Many have asked how they can help to strengthen this industry, which remains a significant economic driver in Maine. In 2016, it contributed an estimated $8.5 billion to the state’s economy and supported directly and indirectly more than 33,538 jobs, even after recent mill closings, according to a University of Maine study.

So we think it’s important to share the efforts over the last six months of a coalition of leaders from the forest products industry, communities affected by mill closures and education and economic development organizations, known as the Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative. Its members include the Maine Forest Products Council, the Maine Pulp and Paper Association, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, Small Woodland Owners of Maine, Biobased Maine, and the University of Maine, led by its Center for Research on Sustainable Forests. The Maine Development Foundation is providing support for our work, including gathering input from affected communities.

Our goal is to attract capital investments, develop greater economic prosperity in the forest products sector statewide and sustain good-paying jobs by developing a common long-term vision for the forest economy and identifying and taking action on key opportunities and challenges that must be overcome.

 Here are several immediate initiatives we believe would help:

— Engage a leading international forestry consulting firm to objectively identify the current and emerging global forest products markets where Maine is likely to be most competitive. We would also include a benchmarking component to compare Maine regionally, nationally and internationally to better understand the market opportunities and challenges.

— Conduct a wood supply analysis to attract new markets. It has been well over a decade since a comprehensive analysis of Maine’s current and future wood supply has been completed. To capture new and future markets for wood products, we need a detailed understanding of the long-term supply.

— Integrate and synthesize results from the wood supply analysis into a comprehensive and achievable vision for Maine’s forest sector. This roadmap should contain clearly defined objectives, tasks and action items, and include a marketing plan that informs potential investors about business resources and manufacturing site options.

Further initiatives include better transportation systems from forests to mills to markets; development of more outlets for forest residuals, including combined heat and power projects; increasing outreach to small-woodland owners; and investing in the commercialization of new products such as bio-based products. For affected communities, priorities include the redevelopment of closed mill sites, and diversifying and strengthening Maine’s rural economy by supporting small businesses, investing in community infrastructure, expanding broadband, and supporting rural tourism development.

As we seek ways to implement these initiatives, we already are moving forward. Maine’s larger mills are diversifying as quickly as our capital-intensive industry allows. Much of the global growth is in tissue. That’s why Woodland Pulp in Baileyville invested $120 million in two tissue machines. Markets for packaging and specialty papers are growing, too, so those products have been added in Madawaska, Skowhegan, Westbrook, Jay and Rumford.

In the solid wood sector, Maine’s sawmills are well capitalized. Irving opened its Ashland mill in 2014. The Huber Resources Corp. and Louisiana-Pacific Corp. panel facilities are hiring more staff to meet demand.

Our biomass energy sector, including wood pellets, has been affected by lower costs for oil and natural gas, reducing that market. Loggers, landowners and sawmills depend on biomass fuel outlets for their sawdust and bark, so they’re working together to revive these important markets.

Thanks to a bill passed in April, biomass generators have transitional help. Last month, Maine regulators approved splitting $13.4 million in temporary subsidies for four biomass facilities, including two shut down in Penobscot and Washington counties. The new owner of those plants, Stored Solar, is now buying wood fuel and expects to reopen both facilities soon.

There clearly are challenges ahead, but we have enormous assets to build on going forward. Developing and pursuing an effective growth plan will require partnerships among federal, state and industry resources. By working together and staying the course, we can sustain and reinvent Maine’s forest products industry and increase its benefits to communities across the state.

Yellow Light Breen is president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation. Patrick Strauch is the executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council.

Maine Congressional Delegation Welcomes Economic Development Assessment Team

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2017
Maine’s Forest Economy Receives Boost to Pursue New Growth Opportunities
Federal funding is announced to address shared strategies identified by a statewide coalition and the Economic Development Assessment Team
PASSADUMKEAG, Maine — With newly announced federal funding, a coalition of leaders from the forest products industry, communities affected by mill closures, and the education and economic development sectors is ready to begin implementing strategies to strengthen and diversify Maine’s valued forest economy. Members of the Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative gathered today as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine shared the federal Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) recommendations for Maine’s forest economy. Erskine also announced federal grants aimed at addressing critical needs, including $1 million to develop a long-term vision and strategic plan.
The forest products industry has a long and proud heritage in Maine and remains a significant economic driver in the state’s economy. In 2016, the total economic impact of the forest products industry is still estimated at $8.5 billion and 33,538 total jobs. At the same time, rapid marketplace changes have led to the recent closure of six pulp and paper mills, two biomass electric facilities, and related declines in forest manufacturing and harvesting.
“Having the federal resources available to support the strategic plan is welcomed and appreciated. Members of the Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative identified this roadmap as the crucial first step in positioning Maine as a global leader in the forest products industry. The strategic plan will identify the most promising new markets for wood products and analyze Maine’s wood supply to understand how to meet those new demands,” said Patrick Strauch, Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council and co-chair of the coalition. “Ultimately, the strategic plan will be used to attract investors, develop greater prosperity in the forest products sector, and sustain good-paying jobs in Maine’s rural communities.”
The EDAT report also includes committed resources and immediate “next steps” to implement the eight strategies, which incorporated and responded to the priorities recently identified by the Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative.
“The EDAT spent three days in Maine last summer to gain a deeper understanding of issues facing the region through a series of site visits, community meetings, and briefings by community and forest industry leaders. The federal team saw firsthand how the state has been impacted by the recent industry challenges and also witnessed how the industry and many communities have come together to identify priorities for economic development,” said Matt Erskine, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The EDAT and its federal partner agencies are supporting those new ideas by identifying potential resources and programs and providing some funding so these strategies can begin to be implemented. We will continue to work with local stakeholders on these strategies in the upcoming months and years.”
Included in the “next steps” is a commitment for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a world leader in composite materials manufacturing, to collaborate with the University of Maine on the development of biobased materials. ORNL and the U.S. Department of Energy will also provide technical expertise to Maine’s biomass sector around new opportunities in Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Other next steps address mill site redevelopment, broadband access for communities affected by mill closures, support for small businesses, and training programs for high school students interested working in the logging industry. Federal grants are also being awarded to Eastern Maine Development Corporation ($200,000 for redevelopment of the Bucksport mill site) and the Maine International Trade Center ($145,000 to assist small businesses that export products) to support the next steps.
“As paper and pulp mills have closed in recent years, many communities in Maine that relied on the mills as a source of jobs and revenue are struggling to retain residents and keep businesses open. Investing resources into initiatives like redeveloping closed mill sites and expanding broadband access will help these communities diversify their economies,” said Peggy Daigle, a former town manager of several communities including Old Town, Lincoln and Millinocket, and member of the Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative.
Last summer’s EDAT visit was requested by Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King, with support from Representative Bruce Poliquin and Representative Chellie Pingree, in response to concerns from the forest industry and impacted communities. Learning of the release of the EDAT report, Senators Collins and King and Representatives Poliquin and Pingree said in a joint statement, “Maine’s forest products industry is an integral part of our state’s heritage, and, as this report demonstrates, it will be essential to our state’s economic future. That’s why we wholeheartedly commend the hardworking men and women of Maine’s forest industry and the Economic Development Assessment Team who have collaborated day in and day out over the course of the past several months to arrive at this critical point. It is our hope that the recommendations outlined in this report, combined with federal funding and additional commitments from several agencies, will provide a beneficial strategic roadmap that will drive economic growth in our forest economy and lead to the creation of stable, good-paying jobs for people in rural communities across Maine. We look forward to working with Maine’s forest industry to implement the vision of this report, and we pledge to continue to do all that we can to support this vital part of our economy.”
“Despite the challenges faced by the forest products industry, we have enormous assets to build on going forward. Developing and pursuing an effective growth plan will require partnerships among federal, state, and industry resources. By working together, we can sustain and reinvent Maine’s forest products industry and increase its benefits to communities across the state,” said Yellow Light Breen, President and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation and co-chair of the coalition.
EDAT report recommendations for Maine’s forest economy:
STRATEGY 1: Develop an industry-wide strategic plan to assess future demand for wood products and Maine’s wood supply now and in the future
STRATEGY 2: Conduct a transportation analysis to determine where infrastructure investments are necessary to improve transportation efficiencies
STRATEGY 3: Invest in the development and commercialization of new forest products
STRATEGY 4: Support the development of markets for forest product residuals
STRATEGY 5: Identify training needs and prepare the workforce to meet changing requirements
STRATEGY 6: Support the redevelopment of vacant mill sites
STRATEGY 7: Support vibrant Maine communities where people want to live, work and visit
STRATEGY 8: Invest in long-term community infrastructure for the future

Full EDAT report available at: https://www.eda.gov/pdf/201701-Maine-EDAT-final-report.pdf
The Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative members are:
Patrick Strauch, Maine Forest Products Council, Co-Chair
Yellow Light Breen, Maine Development Foundation, Co-Chair
Donna Cassese, SAPPI North America
Tom Doak, Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine
Dana Doran, Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine
Steve Schley, Pingree Associates
Charlotte Mace, Biobased Maine
Stephen Shaler, University of Maine
Jake Ward, University of Maine
Peggy Daigle, Former Town Manager/Consultant
Andy Hamilton, Eaton Peabody Attorneys at Law
Charlie Spies, CEI Capital Management
About the Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative: Formed in 2016, the Maine Forest Economy
Growth Initiative is a collaborative effort by forest product industry and community stakeholders to reinvigorate Mane’s forest economy and ensure that Maine’s rural communities prosper. The forest products industry has a long and proud heritage in Maine, and remains a significant economic driver in the state’s economy. At the same time, rapid marketplace changes have led to the closure of six pulp and paper mills in recent years, with profound impacts on Maine’s rural communities. As global markets shift, new ideas and strategies are needed to keep Maine’s forest economy strong and ensure the state’s rural communities prosper. The Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative is supported by the Maine Development Foundation, through a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.