Abstract

The recent economic crisis has greatly affected how companies conduct business. To be competitive, companies had to make changes to their product lines, distribution channels, marketing, and overall business strategies. This study was conducted to describe and analyze the log supply component of the hardwood forest products distribution chain and to investigate changes over the past 5 years. State forestry utilization and marketing specialists were interviewed to gain a regional overview of log distributions systems, followed by a survey that resulted in 57 responses from log distributors/brokers/wholesalers from 24 states. Results indicated that, on average, respondents received the majority of their logs from gatewood purchases, and the majority of logs purchased went directly into the sawmill market. From 2007 to 2011, logs sold to sawmill and veneer markets decreased by 6 and 7 percent, respectively, and logs sold to export markets increased by 30 percent. Respondents indicated that increasing fuel and trucking costs, followed by logger shortages, had the greatest negative impact on business operations. In contrast, increasing log exports had the greatest positive impact. Most respondents indicated that although current economic conditions have affected the way they conduct business, they have been able to find ways to adapt. Services such as providing log delivery, bucking logs to desired lengths, and procuring hard-to-obtain species helped companies in the log business remain competitive.

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