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Wood is sustainable, renewable, greenhouse-gas friendly, highly versatile, grown with relatively little effort. Forests provide clean air, water, wildlife habitat and biodiversity.

Forest products 27% of all exports and paper is still No.1

Maine Forest products exportsWhen you look at Maine’s top 10 exports by industry, paper is Number 1, while forest products and wood products also are among the state’s top 10 exports, with a combined value of $758,423,964 – 27.5 percent of Maine’s total exports.

Those numbers come from the Maine International Trade Center (MITC), whose staff produced a report for MFPC, which provides a wealth of information about exports, but here are a few of the highlights.

Paper has been locked in a battle for the top spot with Computer and Electronic Products for the past 10 years (see chart below), with paper winning in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Canada continues to be top destination for Maine exports, while China is second – but exports declined 9.99 percent from 2012 to 2013 and 17.5 percent from 2013 to 2014.

If you look at exports simply by commodity (not industry), Number 1 is crustaceans  – lobster, shrimp, etc. But there are also five categories of forest products on the top commodities list. (See below)

As a Bangor Daily News story March 18 noted, export trends can be a signal of economic output and changing markets. The decline in pulp exports coincided with the Old Town Fuel and Fiber bankruptcy, but the company has reopened under its new owner Expera Specialty Solutions of Wisconsin. Another example, Executive Director Patrick Strauch told the BDN, is that the addition of tissue-making machines this year at Woodland Pulp in Baileyville, which could mean more as pulp produced in Maine is processed domestically.

“That’s a great thing in Maine because we’re adding more value,” said Strauch said.

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commoditieschart of paper vs. computer

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