The United States is the largest producer and consumer of wood products in the world. We are also a net importer. Our domestic industry is facing unprecedented foreign competition, and the economic viability of maintaining our forest land base is challenged in many areas.
In response to an Office of Technology Assessment recommendation, Congress created a series of Centers for Wood Utilization Research to generate the new knowledge and technologies needed to maintain a vigorous, competitive, domestic forest products industry based on sustainable use of our forest resources. Jointly these Centers address major problems and opportunities confronting the domestic forest products industry and have the science and technology breadth to address issues with sustainable utilization and harvesting of eastern hardwood, southern pine, western softwood, and northeastern species.
Several Centers have specific focus on the development of manufacturing and machining technologies, composite materials, marketing, new product development and other topics essential to the future of this sector. The effectiveness of the Centers for Wood Utilization Research is evidenced both in the economic benefits of the research and the Centers' success in promoting more efficient utilization and stewardship of our nation's forest resources. The program has been reviewed by USDA and was found to be highly productive and is successful with accomplishing its mission. All Center funds are allocated though a peer review process, and highly leveraged with other investments by industry, state and university sources.