This case describes the roles and views of state foresters of the four Northern Forest states-Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. They are the top state government officials in charge of forested lands, the associated ecosystems, and the forest projects' industry. The Northern Forest (A)-(E) case series focuses students on the boom and bust behaviors in the Northern Forest sawmill industry. Stakeholders from landowners to sawmill owners to government officials to environmentalists all wanted to make sure that the overall demand for saw logs, as driven by sawmill capacity, did not exceed the rate at which the trees were growing. They did not want sawmill demand to "overshoot" the productive capacity of the forest resource, a classic problem in renewable resource economies that the region had experienced approximately a century earlier. Students are called upon to use systems thinking skills (analysis of reference modes of behaviors, causal loop mapping and stock flow mapping) in creating their causal hypotheses of the underlying systems structure. Students are asked to design system structure policies to help sustain both the industry and the natural resources of the region.
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