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Environment and Outdoors

UMaine Scientists Testing Wood From Great Depression Trees

ORONO, Maine — Scientists at the University of Maine are testing the strength of wood from trees planted by the Civilian Conservation Corp during the Great Depression.

The University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center's students and staff are evaluating the bending and tension of about 1,200 pieces of lumber milled from Norway spruce that grew in Maine, Vermont, New York and Wisconsin.

Workers planted the trees in the 1930s and 1940s as part of a program that put unemployed men to work. The Norway spruce is not native to the United States.

Composites center associate director Stephen Shaler says the center is testing the spruce to determine if it meets industry standards. He says preliminary results look promising.