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    Author(s): Joseph Roos; David L. Nicholls
    Date: 2006
    Source: Res. Note. PNW-RN-550. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 13 p
    Publication Series: Research Note (RN)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (100 KB)


    New equipment, technology, and marketing efforts have allowed Alaska’s wood products producers to consider opportunities previously unavailable to them. Until recently, the primary product produced by Alaska firms was rough, unseasoned lumber sold primarily within local markets. Given the purchase and installation of new drying and planing equipment, Alaska producers can now enter domestic and export markets for a variety of secondary wood products. Previously underutilized species, such as red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.), paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), and Alaska yellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach) are also gaining in popularity and market potential. A detailed knowledge of species preferences for Alaska lumber, across business types and geographic regions, will be essential if Alaska producers are to be competitive.

    Information for this paper was obtained from producers attending national and regional woodworking shows. Research objectives were to identify which Alaska species are preferred by selected wood products manufacturers in the continental United States. Manufacturing sectors investigated include cabinet, furniture, door and window, and moulding and millwork. A second objective was to determine which geographic regions of the United States have the greatest potential to purchase lumber produced from various Alaska species.

    Furniture and cabinet manufacturers were the most common business types among survey responses, representing more than 80 percent of respondents. Overall, Alaska yellow-cedar was the most popular Alaska species, followed by Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) and western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Donn). Of the four business types represented, door/window manufacturers showed preferences for western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.), whereas moulding/millwork producers preferred Sitka spruce, Alaska yellow-cedar, and western redcedar. Both western hemlock and Alaska yellow-cedar were generally preferred by respondents from the Northwest region. However, the overall popularity of Alaska species was relatively low, with the most popular species (Alaska yellow-cedar) being used by only about 7 percent of all respondents.

    Results of this study indicate a strong potential for development of niche markets by using Alaska species, in particular use of Alaska yellow-cedar by Pacific Northwest producers. Further opportunities could include substitution of Alaska species such as red alder and western hemlock within established markets in the continental United States. The high costs of producing lumber in Alaska (including transportation, labor, and equipment costs) will need to be considered in developing successful export programs.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Roos, Joseph; Nicholls, David L. 2006. Domestic market opportunities for Alaska lumber-species preferences by secondary wood products manufacturers in the continental United States. Res. Note. PNW-RN-550. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 13 p


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    Wood products, Alaska, export, lumber, underutilized species, furniture

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