ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Norway Spruce tree is prominent in all of New England and is now officially certified as a construction grade lumber -- which means Maine's timber industry and economy could see a big boost.
This is the first time a new species has been certified since the 1920's. "There may never be another one" Jeff Easterling said. Easterling is the president of NELMA, the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association. "It's truly a once in a lifetime event". Researchers and students at the University of Maine in Orono have been testing the lumber since the beginning of the year. The wood must meet specific criteria to be certified construction grade lumber. One pressure test shows the wood can handle the weight of 6 cars.
"It is has to do with the bending which is critical in building construction and also in tension as well" Easterling said. "The quality of Norway Spruce is very high, and so that will come into play in the marketplace".
Experts believe there are at least 200 million Norway Spruce trees across New England. To put that into perspective, that's enough wood to build roughly 270,000 homes. "It introduces a whole new resource that they have not had available to them as material for cutting lumber" Easterling said. "It should be good news all the way around and this industry needs good news".
Consumers could see the lumber available on the market in as little as one month.