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The Role of Innovation in the Forest Products Industry

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The US forest products industry has lost several hundred thousand jobs over recent years. It is argued that low-cost, foreign competition is largely responsible for this loss. Given this situation, enhancing innovation is increasingly seen as a path to competitive advantage and improved financial performance. Strategies have been and are being developed at the state and national level in the United States as well as the national level in many other countries. Although there is general recognition that innovation can positively impact competitiveness in the industry, there is little research verifying this relationship. This article discusses current innovation research focusing on the forest products industry. It also provides a brief example of a competitor nation's (Finland) efforts to enhance innovation in its forest products industry. With this background, the potential roles in enhancing innovation in the US forest products industry of company executives, policymakers, and researchers/educators are outlined. For example, it is recommended that companies concentrate on creating more innovation-centric cultures and policymakers are encouraged to support the future forest products industry workforce. Finally, it is suggested that the research and education community can be more effective in supporting industry through industry-focused research and developing skills of current and future employees.
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Keywords: competitiveness; forest products industry; innovation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-10-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.675 (Rank 20/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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