ORONO — New England forestry researchers say they are determined to re-establish Maine’s domination in timber and paper products industries, challenged by southern states that have not proved their superiority over the northeast.
A conference on forestry management and resource development, Wednesday, Oct. 24, may become a model for meetings in other New England states that are determined to reverse the draining of U.S. Forest Service funds from the Northeast to other areas of the nation, organizers have said.
Denver P. Burns, director of the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station of the U.S. Forest Service, will address the potential for expanded use of Maine’s timber resources and rejuvenation of the timber industry.
Southern states have been unable to back claims they can supplant Maine as the “woodbasket” of the United States, according to forestry management officials.
The continual decline in U.S. Forest Service funding for research in Maine and other New England states has brought the region’s forest industrial, political, environmental and scientific interests to a crossroads, according to Christopher Murdoch, director of the Office of Professional Development and assistant professor of Forest Resources at the University of Maine.
Southern pine grows quickly but produces inferior wood for paper-making. Southern forests are plagued by pest management problems, Murdoch says.
Burns will tell forestry researchers that study should be directed toward forest biology and ecology rather than short-term research to deal with immediate crisis, such as spruce budworm. Also, use of microorganisms instead of chemicals to break down wood fiber should be studied.
He also will discuss composites of plastic and wood fiber and expansion of hardwood markets.