What is Structural Round Timber (SRT)?

    • Structural Round Timber (SRT) utilizes trees in their natural form for structural applications such as columns, beams, trusses, and other engineered assemblies
    • SRT has an extensive research history, requires no adhesives, has minimal processing, and can be fabricated using existing local timber supplies.
    • SRT fosters the continued sustainable management of Northern Maine's forests and in doing so, supports rural forest-centric economies.  

What is Mass Timber?

    • “Mass timber” as defined in the International Building Code (IBC), are structural elements of Type IV construction primarily of solid, built-up, panelized or engineered wood products that meet minimum cross section dimensions of heavy timber materials.

What is the Maine SRT Initiative (Original Mass Timber Maine)?

    • Original Mass Timber Maine is a grant-funded initiative administered by the Town of Ashland, ME. We collaborate with influential leaders in the A/E/C community to develop markets for Structural Round Timber (SRT) from regional forest owners to provide jobs for local forest economies, while providing cost effective solutions that sequester more carbon, and require less processing than competitive products. 
    • Helping private sector entities in the Town of Ashland and surrounding areas participate in scaling the SRT opportunity. 
    • Demonstrating large potential markets and improved landowner margins from the SRT opportunity.

WholeTrees Structures & Original Mass Timber Maine

WholeTrees Structures and Original Mass Timber Maine have partnered with support from the Northern Forest Center and Maine Development Fund in this Initiative, and joined forces with industry-leading experts in sustainable forestry to build markets for and provide beautiful, affordable, and durable round timber structural systems. 

Using digital supply chains, advanced grading technologies, and BIM software, trees thinned from managed forests become the least energy intensive mass timber structural system available to commercial construction.  We bring SRT to new markets while promoting and instilling a love of nature and conservancy.  Low value trees become high value commercial construction materials.   Together we change the way people react to the built environment by bringing sustainable sourced SRT to the places we live, work and play.  Original Mass Timber- a natural fit.  What is your sustainability story?

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Image Credit: Paul Cyr

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Image Credit: WholeTrees

Sustainable Forestry in Ashland and Northern Maine

Maine contains an estimated 17.6 million acres of forest land and covers about 89 percent of the land area in the State. The Spruce-Fir-Northern Hardwoods zone blankets most of the northern half of the state. Here the conifer-dominated and hardwood-dominated forests are entwined with one another. These vast forests of northern Maine have benefited humankind for centuries, and with sustainable forest management and modern forest conservation practices, will continue to do so. 

“Forest conservation is the planning and implementation of measures in order to sustain and maintain forested areas and other forest attributes, that are beneficial to both humans and the environment, for future generations to utilize and enjoy.

At its root, sustainability provides for the needs of today without sacrificing or compromising the ability of future generations to meet tomorrow’s needs. Sustainability is a fundamental part of a well-managed forest, where every decision made is a commitment to deliver goods and services, while fulfilling the three main pillars of sustainability: Environmental Stewardship, Social Responsibility, and Economic Viability. 

Working forests are managed to provide a sustainable supply of wood products, wildlife habitat, recreation, hunting, clean air and water, and numerous other societal benefits that support regional, local, and rural economies.

Working forests are reliant on the availability of strong forest product markets for the wood harvested from them. Diverse markets for wood products reduce the risk of forests being converted to other land uses and allow landowners to invest in treatments that keep forests healthy and productive.

Healthy, Working Forests Are a Climate Mitigation Solution, and Maine’s forests are an important part of a comprehensive solution for climate change. Sustainably managed forests are healthy forests. Healthy and productive forests capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the form of tree trunks, leaves, branches, and roots.

When trees in a managed forest are harvested, they are manufactured into long-lived products that continue to store carbon, such as lumber and paper. Harvest residues and milling byproducts (such as limbs, treetops, sawdust, and wood chips) are also carbon beneficial.  They can be used to produce clean, renewable energy, reducing society’s reliance on fossil fuels. 

Following a timber harvest, sites are reforested through both natural regeneration and planting, restarting the carbon capture and storage cycle.

Forest certification is a voluntary process where a landowner invites an independent third party to evaluate and assess the quality of their forest management activities against a set of requirements or standards, typically predetermined by a public or private certification organization.

The purpose of certification is to inform consumers, customers, and others about the sustainability of the forests from which wood and other products were produced. 

Certification is an important part of a sustainable forest management philosophy. Two of the most prominent forest certification standards, the Forest Stewardship Council® and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® “- SOURCE (Seven Islands)

The Maine SRT Initiative will position Ashland and the Maine Woods to take advantage of an estimated $130 million market for structural round timber (SRT) products in the northeastern United States. SRT is a low carbon mass-timber building product that can be used as an alternative to steel.

“Ashland has been looking at multiple market opportunities to restore more wood products manufacturing to our local business mix,” says Cyr Martin, town manager for Ashland. “We’re strategically located at the gateway to the Northern Maine forest resource and have proximity and transportation access to significant markets. The Town has a 100-acre industrial park and numerous un- or under-utilized manufacturing sites that could support such businesses. What is missing is market demand to justify business investment in those sites, and this project will help us grow one of those markets.”

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Image Credit: @lostpropinfo


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Image Credit: @realwomenintimber


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FFEI & FOR/Maine

Future Forest Economy Initiative (FFEI):

For over a century the Northern Forest region of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York provided lumber and fiber to feed economic growth along the eastern seaboard. In those communities, that produced and added value to the forest resource and residents benefited from some of the highest per capita incomes in their states. Over time, however, consumer tastes, world trade, multinational corporate ownership and regulations eroded the economic vibrancy – and ultimately the socio-demographics – of this region. Despite the more than 70 million people that live within a day’s drive, the region is struggling to adapt and has limited investment dollars for developing new markets for forest products and services that deliver economic value back to the region’s businesses, landowners, and communities. In recognition of this challenge, Congress appropriated $3 million in FY18 “for EDA to collaborate with the Northern Border Regional Commission to support the development of markets for wood products. The Committee encourages EDA to work with communities researching and developing new construction technologies, such as engineered wood products.”

The initiative, a cooperative effort of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities, and the Northern Forest Center, grew out of a congressional mandate to support the development of markets for wood products. Over the next three years, the initiative cooperators will invest $2.6 million in sub-grants to expand innovation, create market demand and create conditions that will allow businesses and communities to benefit from these innovations.

The initiative is focused on four investment objectives developed after conversations with public and private leaders in the wood products sector, a survey of wood products businesses in the region, and assessment of relevant state and federal strategies. Priorities include:

    • Supporting the development of new products and services from the region’s forests, particularly those that create or expand uses for low grade wood, mill residuals, and/or underutilized species.
    • Conducting strategic marketing campaigns to expand wood industry interest in the region as a place to do business and increase consumer demand for wood products.
    • Improving the efficiency of wood products supply chains to reduce transportation and production costs and increase access to markets for the region’s manufacturers.
    • Strengthening the ability of the region’s wood manufacturers to capitalize on new market opportunities.

FOR/Maine:

FOR/Maine is building on recent investment in the forest economy to promote continued growth through implementation of the Roadmap’s goals and strategies. Through rigorous research, we have identified the global wood products that can be competitively made in Maine; we’ve modeled and continue to update our sustainable wood supply projections. Phase II of the project focuses on sustained collaboration for implementation of the Forest Opportunity Roadmap. We are moving forward to commercialize new uses of wood and place Maine as a global center of wood technology innovation; we are developing a marketing plan to bring more capital investments to Maine; and building a communications strategy to promote career opportunities in a resurging forest industry.

Forest Opportunity Roadmap / Maine (FOR/Maine) is a unique cross-sector collaboration between industry, communities, government, education, and non-profits, which have come together to ensure that Maine strategically adapts and capitalizes on changing markets, to maintain our leading role in the global forest economy and support prosperity in our state. The coalition was created with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.