Statewide coalition identifying ways to diversify wood products business, seize on innovative market opportunities, and strengthen rural economies
AUGUSTA, Maine – May 15, 2018 – FOR/Maine (Forest Opportunity Roadmap), formerly known as the Maine Forest Economy Growth Initiative, is pleased to announce significant progress in an ambitious effort to diversify the state’s wood products businesses, attract capital investments, and develop greater economic prosperity for communities impacted by recent mill closures.
“Maine has a vibrant and diverse supply chain that can support new forest industry revenue streams and high-quality jobs in rural areas,” says Yellow Light Breen, President and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation. “We are exploring ways to continue to grow existing businesses, and also produce new bio-based forest products for both domestic and global markets. Sustainable working forests are a tremendous asset for Maine and a pillar of community and business opportunity here.”
FOR/Maine is convening scores of industry, community, research, investment and government stakeholders to conduct coordinated research, formulate strategy, and harness extensive global expertise as part of a long-term, U.S. Economic Development Administration-backed effort to strengthen Maine’s $8.5-billion, 33,000-job forest economy and position the state as a leader in emerging global forest product markets. Among the reports FOR/Maine will release by year’s end are:
- A global market analysis aimed at identifying current and emerging global demand for forest products, and the markets where Maine is likely to be most competitive. This will also enable FOR Maine to identify the necessary policy and industry changes to keep Maine forest products competitive.
- A wood supply analysis aimed at determining Maine’s current and potential wood supply and how it can meet global demands.
- A Forest Economy Strategic Plan that will identify the global forest products markets Maine can best compete in and the actions necessary to create a more diverse forest economy and increase our economic output.
FOR/Maine is also working closely with leadership in forest communities, including the six towns in Maine that have had mills close in recent years. The coalition is actively involved in efforts to diversify economic opportunities for these communities, supporting efforts to redevelop mill sites, provide more resources for brownfield cleanup and improve broadband access in rural areas.