Title: Assessment of the competitive position of the forest products sector in southeast Alaska, 1985-94.
Author: Robertson, Guy C.; Brooks, David J.
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-504. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 29 p
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Description: This paper provides an assessment of the competitive position of the forest products sector in southeast Alaska relative to that of its major competitors. An analytical framework relying on the economic concepts of comparative and competitive advantage is first developed, with emphasis on the relative cost and productivity of productive inputs such as labor, capital, and raw materials. The assessment is divided into three main components: (1) forest resource characteristics and production costs in the logging sector, (2) production costs in the sawmill sector, and (3) relative market position in end-product markets. Major competing regions are British Columbia in Canada and the states of Washington and Oregon in the United States. Japan’s market for soft-wood saw logs and sawn wood is the focus of the end-market analysis. Data consistently indicate that southeast Alaska has been a high-cost producer of sawn-wood products operating at the margin of profitability over the assessment period. This is due to a combination of high labor costs on a per-unit-of-input basis and low productivity for labor inputs in both the logging and sawmill sectors, and for raw material inputs in the sawmill sector. Certain pecies and log grades, however, are capable of generating considerable profits, and the relation between average profitability for the sum total of harvests in southeast Alaska and the profitability of specific components of this harvest also is analyzed. Implications of these findings for current efforts to promote increased value-added timber processing in southeast Alaska are discussed in the conclusion.
Keywords: Comparative advantage, labor productivity, timber scarcity, value added, stumpage prices
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Robertson, Guy C.; Brooks, David J. 2001. Assessment of the competitive position of the forest products sector in southeast Alaska, 1985-94. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-504. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 29 p
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