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The Business of Forest Enterprise / Urban Ecosystems / Forest Policy / Biosecurity

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Business clusters are geographic concentrations of companies that provide mutual advantages for their participants. Clusters can include diverse members including competitors, customers, partners, and/or suppliers. In Alaska, wood products business clusters can have unique challenges associated with remote locations, high raw material costs, limited local markets, and potentially long transportation distances. Further, multiple land ownership near communities (for example state versus federal ownership) can influence raw material procurement, since different administrative processes for timber harvesting may be required. This study evaluates 2 resource dependent communities in southeast Alaska (Haines, AK and Craig, AK), seeking to identify elements that could enhance their potential for wood products clusters and new business formation. We consider how the flow of forest resources, from harvest to finished product, can influence local communities and either enhance or limit opportunities for wood products businesses. We evaluate the effect of various product mixes—including firewood, woody residues, house logs, lumber, and secondary wood products—on the composition, scale, and dynamics of wood products firms. We consider the effect of harvesting practices and proximity to timber sales in evaluating how land ownership can influence the viability of wood products clusters. Lastly we consider the impact of transportation costs on serving local and export markets. Our research builds upon past work in Alaska that evaluated national-forest based communities in Alaska, finding opportunities for greater innovation, higher productivity, and greater social well-being associated with wood products clusters.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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.
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