Shaler testifies in virtual Congressional hearing on wood innovation

Steve Shaler, director of the UMaine School of Forest Resources, testified March 23 in the virtual Congressional hearing, Wood Innovation: Sustainable Forest Products to Reinvigorate Rural Economies. Shaler testified before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing at the request of chair and Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree. A recording of the hearing is online.

In his testimony, Shaler emphasized that innovation is key to meeting the increasing global demand for low carbon materials, chemicals and fuels. It needs to occur within the context of a connected vibrant network of the environment (forest), society (rural communities at the source and increasingly urban global markets at the end) and economy, he said, and pointed to the Forest Opportunity Roadmap / Maine (FOR/Maine) that is addressing these challenges in Maine. He also pointed to UMaine research focused on sustainable innovation, including work in nanocellulose.

“Collaborations are at the heart of the innovation activities in sustainable forest products,” Shaler told the Congressional subcommittee. “Collaborations involving industry, government (local, state, federal and international), universities, and local communities are central to leveraging the maximum impact of wood innovation, as is sustained federal investment that fosters that collaboration while supporting research and development.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle,