UMaine launches the Forest Economy, Sustainability and Technology (FOREST) initiative – UMaine News – University of Maine – University of Maine

The University of Maine has established the Forest Economy, Sustainability and Technology (FOREST) initiative, a universitywide multi-disciplinary effort to bring together university, industry, government, and community collaborators for the advancement of forest-based economy in Maine. 
Comprised of representatives from more than two dozen departments, colleges and organized research units within the UMaine, FOREST is working to coordinate, communicate and collaborate across the University of Maine System (UMS) with local, state, federal and international partners to develop and deliver integrated research, education and outreach solutions that enhance the economic and ecological sustainability of forest-based communities.
“UMaine FOREST is part of a series of recently launched universitywide initiatives that are strategically linked to University of Maine System’s Research and Development Plan, and are supporting the realization of an innovation-driven Maine economy for the 21st century and, as part of this, addressing the workforce, and social and economic needs,” says Kody Varahramyan, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School.  
Maine’s forest resource is unique in many ways. Measuring over 17 million acres and covering nearly 90% of the state, it forms the largest contiguous block of undeveloped forestland east of the Mississippi. 
Largely privately owned and naturally regenerated, this economic keystone for many of our rural communities has been continually managed for wood products since before our nation’s founding. It remains the highest percent forested state in the country through resource management and sustainable harvesting practices rooted in prevailing scientific understanding. 
Understanding, quantifying and optimizing the increasingly complex interconnected relationship between resource management, harvesting practices, utilization, forest health, wildlife habitat and rural economic prosperity is a concept known as the forest bioeconomy. It bridges current forest-based businesses and policies with visionary thinking on sustainability, product applications and resource utilization. 
To further advance this transformation, a better understanding of the trends and drivers within the global forest bioeconomy is needed. A combined knowledge of technological advances in concert with economic, social, political and environmental aspects of forest resource usage are paramount to the long-term success and prosperity of Maine’s forest bioeconomy. 
Several recent activities within the state have focused on various facets of the forest bioeconomy. These include:
To support these complex interconnected challenges and opportunities, the FOREST Initiative will serve as a platform for available resources across UMS to advance the following strategic goals:
For more detailed information about the initiative visit the UMaine FOREST website.
Contact: [email protected]