Puerto Rico Hardwoods Inc. gets federal subsidy for sustainable project
Puerto Rico Hardwoods Inc. has been chosen as a recipient of the Wood Innovation Grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service division in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Forestry’s State, Private and Tribal Forestry Programs unit.
The company received a $174,891 grant to purchase a state-of-the-art sawmill that will allow it to increase the production of responsibly harvested tropical wood in Puerto Rico, it stated.
The new sawmill, alongside a purchased drying oven, will enable the company to expand production and raise quality levels.
“We greatly appreciate the USDA’s Forest Service for the trust and our broad community of customers and friends, who have supported us throughout these years. Thanks to them, we will be able to offer Puerto Rican wood at a more competitive price,” said Andrés Rúa, founding partner and CEO of the company.
The grant program, established in 2015, stimulates, expands and supports U.S. wood products markets and wood energy markets to support the long-term management of forest resources.
Puerto Rico Hardwoods was founded in 2015 within the framework of the Las Casa de la Selva project in Patillas, a sustainable forestry project with more than 40 years of local and international forestry scientific activity.
Since their founding, both the company and the project have pursued the objective of developing a sustainable timber industry in Puerto Rico through sustainable forest management.
The company’s project, titled “Enhancing market position of Puerto Rico Hardwoods through upgraded equipment, improved timber quality, and increased production capacity,” plans for two years of production. It aims to revitalize the local timber industry and serve as a model for others.
As part of its commitment to the community, Puerto Rico Hardwoods will conduct open houses, wood workshops and educational visits to schools and universities about forest management and products, continuing its efforts from previous years, it stated.
A second applicant from Puerto Rico, Centro para la Conservación del Paisaje, will receive a $214,000 grant to develop its “Analysis of the wood product supply chain in Puerto Rico” project.
In total, the USDA announced it is investing more than $43 million in Wood Innovation Grants to 123 projects across the U.S.