The University of Maine has received a $350,000 grant to join the National Science Foundation’s Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAFS).
This grant makes UMaine a member of a multi-university effort to help solve some of the most important problems facing forest managers in Maine and across the nation, according to Robert Wagner, director of UMaine’s School of Forest Resources.
“The University of Maine has a long history of working closely with Maine’s forest industry through the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit (CFRU) to find practical solutions to forestry problems,” says Wagner. “This new grant will allow UMaine forest researchers and members of Maine’s forest industry to work cooperatively on shared problems at the national level.”
UMaine now will be part an exclusive group of nationally recognized leaders in forest research, including North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Purdue University and Virginia Tech.
Membership in CAFS will provide funding for graduate student research on the UMaine campus and also will link UMaine researchers and the Maine forest industry at the national level to cooperatively find solutions to common problems.
UMaine’s effort within CAFS will seek to improve the computer models used to predict the future growth and development on Maine’s forests.
“Improved models are vital to Maine’s forest landowners if they are to accurately predict future wood supplies that support traditional forest products as well as emerging markets for bioenergy and bioproducts,” says Wagner. “UMaine will bring a unique approach to this national research because its focus and expertise has been on naturally regenerated forests with many tree species, while other universities in CAFS have been focused on plantation forests of single species.”
In addition to UMaine, forestry programs at the University of Georgia and University of Washington received grants to join CAFS this year. These seven universities and forest industry members across the country will now be able to more fully address ways to enhance the competitiveness of the United States forestry sector.
The broader scientific community also will benefit through refereed publications and presentations at scientific meetings that focus on key nationwide research questions.