State of Maine's Environment 2005
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An Environmental Assessment  
State of Maine's Environment 2005

The State of Maine: An Environmental Assessment is an occasional series of reports written by senior environmental policy majors in the Environmental Studies Program at Colby College, Maine. This is the second in a series of reports that have been put together by students enrolled in ES493: Environmental Policy Practicum

The 2005 report focuses on eight thematic areas: Forestry Sustainability, Population Change, Sprawl, Wildlife Conservation Outdoor Recreation, State Parks, Funding Conservation, and Comprehensive Planning. For each topic, we explore the historical context, the current state of the issue, and examine trends to determine the impact that these issues have on Maine’s environment and potential policy options for the future.  

We summarize our results in our Executive Summary. You can read the full report by linking to specific chapters or by downloading the complete report in pdf format at right. We welcome your feedback and comments on these projects, and ideas for future reports.


The Sustainability of Maine’s Forests and Timber Industry

The forestry industry is one of the most important sectors of Maine's economy. However, rising land values, decreasing parcel size, and fragmentation threaten the industry’s profitability. Management that balances conservation and sustainable resource use can secure the future of the timber industry in the North Woods. To read more about the sustainability of Maine's forest and timber industry click here.


Population Changes in Maine’s North Woods

As rural populations in Maine decline, it becomes increasingly difficult to support their public services. To attract and retain residents, rural communities should evaluate their potential attractions while limiting sprawling development. To read more about the population changes in Maine's northern forests click here.


Sprawl and the Future of Maine’s North Woods

In Maine's fastest growing towns, sprawling development has a number of negative social and environmental impacts. "Smart Growth" and proactive planning are ways that communities can limit sprawl and maintain the character of Maine's northern and western landscapes. To read more about the sprawl and the future of Maine's northern forests click here.


Wildlife Conservation and the Maine North Woods

The North Woods are the largest undeveloped tract of land in the east, making them suitable for a variety of wildlife, large mammal populations and possible wolf reintroduction. Impacts of development, especially road density, should be considered when planning the future of the North Woods. To read more about the wildlife conservation in Maine click here.


Outdoor Recreation in Maine

Current sources of funding are inadequate to meet the changing demands of outdoor enthusiasts in Maine. To maintain traditional recreation opportunities in the North Woods, continued cooperation between outdoorsmen, the state and landowners is necessary. To read more about the outdoor recreation in Maine click here.


The Potential for a State Park based Conservation Effort

Maine has the policy tools to promote state park based conservation in the North Woods. Using a model such as the Adirondack State Park (NY) would alow Maine protect working forest values and recreation opportunities important to the state's culture. To read more about the potential for a state park in Maine's north woods click here.


Funding for the Acquisition of State Conservation Lands in the North Woods

Despite a high conservation funding per capita, Maine has a low percentage of state conservation lands. Possible funding options as seen in Minnesota and New Jersey could be used to promote a large-scale conservation effort in the North Woods. To read more about the state park financing in Maine click here.


Comprehensive Planning and the Land Use Regulation Commission

Comprehensive Plans and Lake Concept Plans are two-LURC approved planning methods in Maine's unorganized territories. While the formers has been effective in the Rangely area, the latter has sparked controversty with the Plum Creek develpment proposal around Moosehead Lake. To read more about comprehensive planning in Maine click here.


Download 2005 Report
Download 2008 Report
Download 2007 Report
Download 2004 Report

State of Maine's Environment, Colby College, Environmental Studies Program
Content by Students in ES493: Environmental Policy Practicum
Philip Nyhus, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
5358 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901 USA; Email Us