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Forests to buildings: Tree species utilization, technology, scale of production, and local embeddedness

Peters, James Sedalia, Damery, David T., Wilkie, Richard W.
Journal of sustainable forestry 2017 v.36 no.5 pp. 490-502
buildings, certification, construction materials, forest conservation, forest resources, forests, manufacturing, markets, models, modernization, processing technology, regression analysis, residential housing, trees, wood logs
The paper presents a study of log home manufacturing. Relationships between log conversion (i.e., processing) methods and manufacturer perspectives on their forest resources were investigated using multinomial logistic regression (MLR) models. Log conversion attributes and production volume were found to predict manufacturers’ timber procurement methods, supply distance, timber performance requirements, influences on log conversion methods, and concern with market barriers to ‘green’ certification. Tree species utilization was a statistically significant independent variable in all of the predictive models. Other log conversion attributes (i.e., corner notch type, log profile, log type) and production volume were statistically significant independent variables in individual models. The results suggest systematic relationships between tree species utilization, processing technology, scale of production, and the local embeddedness of production. Manufacturers are categorized as higher-volume processors of raw logs acquired locally, producing products reflecting traditional regional design, or as lower-volume processors of cants acquired from a greater distance, producing less regionally associated products. The paper concludes by suggesting that specialty forest product manufacturers, processing raw logs, are a bridge between the forest resource and the final product and are, therefore, in a strategic position to impact forest conservation, ecological improvement, and other ecological modernization efforts.