Sustainable Working Forests
The underlying goal of CEI's forestry sector work is to support the long-term economic use of forest resources and promote sustainable forest practices. Our involvement with the sector falls into two broad categories:
- Financing and counseling forest products businesses and
- Making New Markets Tax Credit investments in large-scale forestland, community forestry, and processing transactions.
CEI supports forest-related enterprises that:
- Add value to Maine's forest resource
- Practice sustainable forest management
- Work toward maximum utilization of the resource
- Generate/sustain quality jobs
Maine's forests have always been a staple of the state's economy and, while some parts of the industry are in decline, the industry continues to make a significant economic contribution. For example, Maine is second only to Wisconsin in paper production.
CEI has a robust loan and business counseling portfolio of forestry and forestry-related businesses, including wood products firms, loggers, and specialty craft artisans. Over the years, CEI has loaned over $2.8 million to 40 Maine-based forestry enterprises, leveraging another $14.6 million in investments.
Almost 90% of Maine's lands are forested and many communities rely on forest products - both timber and non-timber - for their livelihoods. In an increasingly competitive global economy, the forest products industry relies on innovation more than ever to remain viable. Investments in more efficient equipment and time-saving technologies, creation of new products and other value-added strategies like green certification, biomass energy and biofuels development, and other creative use of by-products are some of the ways companies will stay competitive. All of these efforts must be pursued within a sustainability context to ensure that forest products remain a strong part of the Maine economy in the long term.
CEI's "3E" philosophy is reflected in the goals of our forestry sector work. With every project or business we assist, CEI seeks to support a financially viable business or project (economic), job creation/retention or other social and community benefits (equity), and best management practices (environment).