Collaborative project creates regional connections in forest economies

Friday, May 26, 2023
Research tower in a forest, shot from above with fall colors emerging

Because forests don’t recognize state lines, a new initiative funded by the National Science Foundation taps researchers from UNH and across Northern New England to accelerate innovations in forest ecosystem management and forest products in the region.

UNH forestry researchers Mark Ducey, professor and chair of natural resources and the environment, and Andy Fast, forest industry state specialist and extension professor in UNH Cooperative Extension, are partners in the new Coalition of Northern Forest Innovation and Research, led by the Northern Forest Center and launched with a $1 million inaugural NSF Engines Development Award. The award will help support the coalition in creating regional connections and local forest?innovation ecosystems within two years to prepare strong proposals for future NSF Engines funding of up to $160 million.

Core partners include the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, University of Vermont, Northern Vermont University, Maine Development Foundation, and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.?Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are three of the most forested states in the U.S., with economies tightly linked to the forest’s natural resources.

UNH’s contributions will expand workforce development efforts Fast has led with state partners and bring to bear Ducey’s expertise in forest sampling, geospatial methods, and machine learning.