A hardwood forest stand in Michigan's Two Hearted River Forest Reserve.
Forest/Climate Solutions A hardwood forest stand in Michigan's Two Hearted River Forest Reserve. © Drew Kelly


New Story Map Showcases Ways to Sustainably Use Michigan’s Forests

Did you know that 56 percent of Michigan is covered in forests? Or that Michigan’s forest economy directly contributes $12.2 billion in economic output?

Learn about these facts and more at “A Great Future Ahead with Michigan’s Forest Biomaterials,” an online, interactive StoryMap. The Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MIFBI) partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to create and release this webpage, designed to showcase the state’s potential to create a strong bioeconomy.

“On behalf of the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute and with thanks to our project partners at The Nature Conservancy, we are excited to introduce this story of Michigan timber,” MIFBI Board Chair Brian Craig said. “In doing so, our goal is to be informative and useful to a broad range of audiences – from the general public to academia, industry, and government – and in turn to spur awareness, conversation, and ultimately innovation. This is a living story of a future in which we all play a part.”

This is a living story of a future in which we all play a part.

MIFBI Board Chair

With over 20 million acres of forest, Michigan has an established forest products sector with a history going back more than 100 years. However, in our modernizing world, the demand for conventional forest products is declining. These shifting demand patterns present opportunities for investment in a new sustainable bioeconomy. 

“Working on this project has been a rewarding experience,” Evelyn Magner, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working for TNC said. “Learning more about Michigan’s strong biomaterials research and existing industry has cemented my optimism for the state’s future bioeconomy that is not only environmentally sustainable, but will benefit all Michiganders.”

Many institutions are researching innovative ways to use our forests’ output, like cross-laminated timber in the construction of large buildings, or the use of lignin, a biproduct of paper production, as an alternative to polymers such as plastic. As a home to a strong forest industry sector, large expanse of timberlands and institutions researching innovative uses for forest-products, Michigan has the potential to not only be a part of the developing biomaterials industry, but to be a national leader. Learn more today.

The mission of the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute is to enhance quality of life in Michigan by fostering sustainable forests, communities, and economies through innovative and responsible production, use, and recycling of forest biomaterials. Visit MIFBI at mifbi.org.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.