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Norway Spruce, Abundant in Maine, Approved for Construction

PORTLAND, Maine - It's being called a once-in-a-lifetime occasion for the lumber and building industries: Following extensive testing at the University of Maine, Norway spruce has been approved for use as a construction-grade material in the U.S.

In the 1930's, Civilian Conservation Corp workers planted millions of the non-native trees across the Northeast on abandoned agricultural properties to stabilize soil.  Norway Spruce has been used for pulp wood and smaller board material. Officials with the Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association say the wood has now been approved for home construction applications, such as wall studs, floor and ceiling joists and industrial applications. 

"There is the resource here, Norway spruce, in Maine," says the association's president, Jeff Easterling. "I think it allows then land owners and loggers to now harvest that material, that mills will be obtaining. And so I think the economic benefits, obviously, will be all the way around."

Easterling says Norway spruce becomes the first new major U.S.-grown, softwood species to be tested and approved for construction use since lumber testing began in the 1920's.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.