Working Paper Number


Publication Date



Working Paper 2005-6


The Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, LLC (MWC) is working to help members conduct sustainable forestry of the highest standards while increasing financial returns from harvest activities. The forests of Massachusetts, the 3rd most densely populated of the United States, are threatened. Decades of high grading and the threat of conversion to alternative use present challenges for maintaining a forested landscape. Despite being 60% forested Massachusetts imports approximately 98% of the wood fiber that its citizens consume. MWC is a forest management, processing and marketing cooperative organized by and on behalf of forest landowners in western Massachusetts. The cooperative was envisioned in 1999, incorporated in 2001, gained Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) land management certification in 2003 and is currently in the business-start-up and early growth stage. An umbrella group certification protocol was developed to provide cost-effective forestland management certification. Members benefit from cooperative management of harvest operations, above market stumpage payments, and value-added processing and production including marketing traditionally low value and small diameter material. The added revenue from developing these new markets is used to fund both timber and non-timber related management activities that landowners value. The cooperative partners with local wood processing businesses to spur community economic development.