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Applying Innovation Theory to Maine's Logging Industry

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Innovation is often identified as a critical aspect of continued growth and competitiveness of industries and businesses in general. Currently, very little literature exists on innovation in forest-based industries, and almost no literature exists on innovation in logging. Development, adoption, and assessment of innovation by contract logging services firms are poorly understood. Furthermore, very little is known about the innovation system—the interconnected groups and associated influences that is part of the innovation process of these firms. To better understand innovation in Maine's logging industry, a series of cases studies involving 10 innovative logging firms was performed. Results show that logging innovations are very capital intensive and carry high risk for the adopting firm. Logging innovation is typically focused on increasing profitability and production efficiency, but a given contractor's desire to conduct high-quality work can moderate these influences. Finally, the logging innovation system is strong with respect to the industry infrastructure, other logging firms, and market influences. Several weak connections exist with regard to policy and regulation and public research and education institutions. Increasing collaboration and idea transfer in the system could improve innovation development in the future.
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Keywords: forest harvesting; innovation; innovation systems; logging

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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    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.

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