A Critique and Commentary on the 1983 Supply/Demand Analysis for the Spruce-Fir Forest of Maine
- Baskerville, G.
University of New Brunswick
An analysis of wood supply and demand for the spruce-fir forests of Maine was carried out for the Maine Department of Conservation, Maine Forest Service in 1983. The analysis was conducted by the James W. Sewall Company and reported in a document entitled "Spruce-fir wood supply/demand analysis, Final Report, June 1983". In the present paper this document is referred to as the Report. This Report forecasts substantial problems with the sustainability of the current harvest levels in the spruce-fir forest. Because of the importance of the spruce-fir industry in the state the Report necessarily raises major concern in several constituencies. To assist in interpreting the Report, and to help focus discussion on real issues, the Maine Forest Service asked for a review of the Report on wood supply analysis from the perspective of an interested outsider. This paper present that critique, as well as an interpretation of the Report and comment on related policy issues.
This paper is organized in four sections. The first is a critique of the methods used in the Report. This attempts to establish a framework for interpretation of the Report. The second section presents such an interpretation in the context of the analytical procedures used. The third section draws attention to a group of complex policy issues that arise from the analyses presented in the Report. The fourth section deals with what Maine might do next. By the nature of the task it addresses there is much that is opinion in the present paper. That is unavoidable. The opinion was formed against a background of substantial experience with the types of analytical tools used in the Report, and with the problems of organizing the transition to forest resource management, and is offered as such.
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