Maine has the largest, contiguous, privately owned working forest in the US. The state is 89% forested, and 12.3 million green ton equivalents were harvested in 2017. (Photo by Joe Anastasi)

The New Forest Economy

In addition to traditional pulp, paper and lumber, advances in the sector are shaping the marketplace and the industry is diversifying. Medical and technical products made from nanocellulose are one example as the state is also ideally positioned with opportunities in:

  • Cross-laminated timber and advanced building materials
  • Packaging and high-tech papers
  • Biochemicals and biofuels
  • Bioplastic composites
  • Textiles

Diverse Companies in Maine’s Forest Products Industry

Research & Education

Research facilities, training, and education collaborate with industry and provide a pipeline of skilled workers from labs to logging camps.

The College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture at the University of Maine is one of the most respected forestry programs in North America. The College’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) is tasked with creating and commercializing new bioproducts such as chemicals, fuels, wood composites research and pulp and paper production and transformation. In addition, the University’s Advanced Materials and Composites Center is comprised of 13 integrated laboratories that develop and test durable, lightweight, corrosion-resistant materials including cross laminated timber (CLT) and nanocellulose. The Technology Research Center can produce small scale manufacturing while the Process Development Center houses a state-of-the art pilot plant producing cellulose, and was recently working on beer coasters from spent grains.

Maine Quality Centers Program funds customized workforce training delivered through Maine’s community college system. One of these is a collaboration with the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, which offers a 12-week certificate program on the highly technical equipment used in today’s timber harvesting operations.

The Certified Logging Professional certification was established in 1991 to address the high accident rate. It continues to evolve with the industry and provides a means for continued professional development.


“The Pine Tree State sure has a lot of trees – in fact, about 90 percent of Maine is forested, the highest percentage of any state. But what it has more of is innovation…we see Maine as a leader among Northern states…”
Biofuels Digest, June 2018


Biobased Maine: Trade association accelerating Maine’s biobased manufacturing industry by assisting its members with research and development, investment attraction, and business development.

Maine Technology Institute: MTI offers funding and programs that help companies accelerate progress to the market for new products and technologies, leverage additional private and public investment, and ultimately, expand their economic impact.

SAPPI North America: Sappi North America is a global market leader in converting wood fiber into superior products with a strong presence in Maine. The Westbrook Technology Center houses approximately 50 technicians, engineers and scientists dedicated to discovering and implementing new products, optimizing current product quality, and improving product costs. They have secured more than 250 patents that contribute to the company’s global competitive edge. Sappi also has state-of-the-art pulp and paper mills in Westbrook and Skowhegan.