A $600,000 state grant will enable a study as to why Wisconsin's forest products industry is declining while at the same time the number of trees has grown.
The Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association...headquartered in Rhinelander...and the Wisconsin County Forests Association are administering the grant. The funding came from an amendment put into the state budget by State Senator Tom Tiffany.
Timber Professionals Executive Director Henry Schienebeck is a member of the The Wisconsin Council on Forestry, as is Tiffany and a number of other state officials and industry professionals. They advise the governor, legislature, DNR, and other state agencies about forestry issues. . He says they didn't have hard data to work with..
"...during the budget process, Senator Tiffany offered an amendment to the budget for the $600,000 Forest Products Grant. It identified many of the issues we identified plus a little bit of research on forest fire funding...:"
Schienebeck says they wanted to look at why forestry in Wisconsin is declining, citing companies in the Northwoods...
"....Marplex used to be here, Solon Wood Manufacturing, the Nagle mill up in Land O' Lakes and (those companies) are...gone. They don't get round wood at (Expera paper mill in Rhinelander) either. We started seeing these industries disappear yet we're growing more trees than in the past..."
The two year study will be conducted by a non-profit from North Carolina, the National Council For Air and Stream Improvement. The study goes to the legislature's Joint Committee on Finance for review.