Governor Summit Continues Discussion on Adding Value to Michigan’s Forest Industry

A prescribed burn on a portion of the Moshannon State Forest located in Rush Township, Centre County, PA.
ichigan Governor Summit Continues Discussion on Adding Value to Michigan’s Forest Industry
Michigan DNR
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan -(Ammoland.com)- The Governor’s 2015 Forest Products Summit, held Wednesday in East Lansing, Michigan, brought together 150 representatives from industry,

government, the financial sector and academia to continue actions started at the Governor’s 2013 Forest Products Summit to encourage growth of wood-using industries in the state.

Michigan’s forest products industry contributes $17.8 billion per year to Michigan’s economy and supports 87,000 jobs.

“In 2013, Gov. Snyder helped to initiate action to expand Michigan’s vital forest products industry,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We took what we learned at that first summit and have used that positive momentum to move us even closer to our goals.

“Because of the professional management of our state’s forest resources, we’re able to sustainably meet the demands of this growing industry while, at the same time, maintaining Michigan’s outstanding recreation opportunities.”

Participants at the event heard a report on progress made since the 2013 summit, and discussed ways to continue progress toward the goals of:

  • Increasing the economic contribution of the forest products industry to $20 billion within five years.
  • Increasing the export of value-added forest products by 50 percent.
  • Increasing forest products industry jobs by 10 percent.
  • Encouraging regionally based industry development.

Bill O’Neill, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Resources Division, says collaboration since the 2013 summit already has helped grow the industry.

“To strengthen and grow the forest products industry in Michigan, we have been working with our partners and customers, while continuing to sustainably manage our world-class forest resources,” said O’Neill, who also serves as state forester. “Michigan’s forest products industry plays an important role in moving the state’s economy forward by providing jobs in both urban and rural settings. Strengthening this industry strengthens Michigan.”

The summit included a keynote presentation by Arauco North America President Kelly Shotbolt. Arauco recently announced its plans to build a particleboard plant in Grayling. The $325 million investment will create 250 full-time, permanent jobs. Collaboration across state government played a critical role in bringing the plant to Michigan.

Arauco needed two important pieces of the puzzle to say “yes” to Michigan: an assured sustainable supply of wood into the future, and certified timber, which the market demands. The DNR was able to help with both these needs. The state manages 4 million acres of public forest land that provide a stable source of sustainable harvest of certified timber, allowing broad access to forest product markets.

Also at the summit, Kathleen Atkinson, U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region regional forester, and DNR Director Creagh signed the Good Neighbor Authority master agreement. The agreement between the Hiawatha, Ottawa and Huron-Manistee national forests and the DNR is a broad pact allowing the DNR to supplement the work being done by Forest Service staff on the national forests. The partnership will maintain and create healthy forest conditions as called for in the national forests’ forest plans, while providing additional wood fiber to Michigan’s forest products industry. A portion of the receipts from the timber sales will reimburse the state for its costs to do the work, with remaining funds available to conduct additional restoration activities on the forest.

It is one of the first of these agreements signed in the country.

For more information about plans and activities for managing Michigan’s state forest system, visit www.michigan.gov/forestproducts.