The CRSF has been home to a number of research programs over the years.

Nature-Based Tourism

Sandra De Urioste-Stone, Program Leader

Tourism plays a vital role in the culture, economy, and future economic development of Maine’s rural communities, as well as in the overall economy of the state. Tourism in Maine provides economic and non-economic values to its citizens, including nature conservation, cultural heritage maintenance and pride, and infrastructure and facility improvement. Maine’s outstanding tourism assets, along with the diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities, attract millions of visitors annually to and within Maine. Challenges to capturing growth opportunities relate to changes in visitor travel behavior, economic crises, constrained integrated tourism planning and development, and extreme weather events/natural disasters. By regularly gathering, analyzing, and communicating information about the economic impact and trends of tourism in Maine we expect to increase the efficiency of and opportunities for Maine’s tourism industry.
The mission of the Nature-based Tourism Program is to conduct leading collaborative research, education, and outreach that promote sustainable tourism in Maine.

Family Forests Program

Jessica Leahy, Program Leader

The Family Forests Program serves the estimated 120,000 private, individual forest landowners who own 5.7 million acres of forest land in Maine. The program’s focus has been to conduct applied scientific research and outreach that contributes to the sustainable management of Maine’s family forests for desired products, services, and conditions in partnership with Maine’s family forest stakeholders. These stakeholders range from the Small Woodland Owner Association of Maine (SWOAM), USDA Family Forest Research Center, UMaine Cooperative Extension, American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Maine Forest Service (MFS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA State and Private Forestry, American Consulting Foresters (ACF) and other consulting foresters, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine and forest management firms offering services to family forest owners. Research projects include evaluating forest pest outreach efforts, understanding landowner stewardship responsibilities, landowner succession planning, and the prediction of woody biomass supply from small woodland owners.

Conservation Lands and Public Values

Rob Lilieholm, Program Leader

Conservation Lands and Public Values seeks to assist decision-makers and planners as they look to the future and increasingly think strategically about balancing land conservation, working lands protection, and land development activities. Understanding how these lands are ultimately protected, managed and valued by current and future generations will significantly affect the sustainability of Maine’s communities and related forest-based industries, including forest processors and the recreation and tourism sector. Projects have included alternative futures modeling for the lower Penobscot and lower Androscoggin river watersheds, mobilizing diverse interests to address invasive species threats, and how the public values emrging technologies in forest-based biorefining.