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Business and Economy

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.