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Consumer Willingness to Pay for a Naturally Decay-Resistant Wood Product

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Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is the most widely used chemical wood preservative in the United States. Concerns about the safety of CCA led to an agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the wood treatment industry to withdraw CCA for nonindustrial uses by the end of 2003. In light of the publicity surrounding the withdrawal of CCA, this article evaluates consumers' willingness to pay a premium for products manufactured from naturally decay-resistant wood as opposed to chemically treated wood. We use a national contingent valuation survey to quantify consumer willingness to pay for a children's play structure made from Alaska yellow-cedar, as opposed to an identical play structure made from southern pine treated with ammonial copper quaternary, the likely replacement for CCA. Respondents' estimated mean willingness to pay for the Alaska yellow-cedar play structure is $2,013, compared to $1,000 for the treated southern pine structure. This study shows that manufacturers of products made from naturally decay-resistant wood may be able to capture a substantial premium for their products. West. J. Appl. For. 19(3):160–164.
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Keywords: Alaska yellow-cedar; Contingent valuation methodology; environmental management; forest; forest economics; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; wood products

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Pacific Northwest Research Station 620 SW Main, Suite 400 Portland OR 97205 Phone: (503) 808-2043, Email: gdonovan@fs.fed.us 2: Department of Agricultural Economics University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada S7N 5A8

Publication date: 2004-07-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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