BERLIN, N.H. (AP) – Former owners of the pulp and paper mill complex here owned vast amounts of timberland from which they supplied the mills.

Current owner Fraser Papers Inc. does not, and must compete for pulpwood on the open market as most other mills now do. That’s driven up wood prices. Improvements in sawmill technology also have pushed wood prices higher.

A decade ago, the vast majority of trees cut in northern New England went to pulp mills for paper. Only about one-fifth of trees cut in the region were large, straight and healthy enough to use for veneer or building lumber, which fetch higher prices.

Now sawmills can get veneer and lumber out of smaller trees, squeezing the supply of pulpwood even in this self-proclaimed “City that Trees Built.”

“One of the biggest problems the mill has been having has been getting enough wood,” Mayor Bob Danderson says.

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