UMaine gets $25,000 to research logging industry

Posted Sept. 20, 2010, at 11:30 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine School of Forest Resources has received a $25,000 research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take a close look at the northeast region’s logging industry, including examining its infrastructure, capacity, work force and issues that affect its economic health and future.

Using a variety of survey techniques, such as mail-out surveys and face-to-face interviews, the researchers will identify and assess key industry metrics that can be tracked over the long-term to highlight future opportunities and challenges facing the logging industry, according to a press release issued Monday.

Loggers and logging business owners will receive surveys this fall.

The research will result in a better understanding of how various sectors of the logging industry respond to the significant challenges facing them, according to Jeffrey Benjamin, assistant professor of forest operations. He will oversee the survey with Jessica Leahy, assistant professor of human dimensions of natural resources, and two undergraduate students.

The forest products supply chain of the northern forest involves many independent contractors who provide a service to a diverse group of landowners and supply raw material to multiple wood-using facilities.

The entire supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the logging community in the northern forest region is particularly vulnerable because there is no organization solely focused on the logging sector of the industry, Benjamin said in a summary of the project.

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