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Current and Potential Tagging and Tracking Systems for Logs Harvested from Pacific Northwest Forests

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The forest industry is constantly changing, and technology is constantly shifting the bar for efficiency and profitability. To maintain competitiveness and control costs in a global market, an efficient log tracking method must be used by regional stakeholders in the log supply chain from stump to mill to end consumer. It is important to understand the implications of recent innovations in log tracking for stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest in the context of a global economy, and how innovations in other regions may affect the future of log tracking. In this report, we (1) discuss the importance of log tracking technology, (2) review both regional and international efforts to harness technology for tracking logs from stump to mill, (3) report on a regional survey that examines the current status of log tracking in the Pacific Northwest, and (4) identify the most promising technologies that could be implemented in the near future. The majority of regional stakeholders use paper tags or other relatively simple tagging methods. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and other tracer technologies were not used when marking, sorting, tracking, or paying for logs by any of the regional organizations responding to the survey. RFID tags and spray-on code marking show promise for the near future.

Keywords: log tracking; logistics; supply chain

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-04-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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