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    In recent decades, red alder (Alnus rubra Bong.) has become an important Pacific Northwest hardwood in appearance-grade lumber markets, such as exports, furniture, and cabinets. However, red alder generally is a short-lived pioneer species, and small logs can result in proportionally large volumes of lower grade lumber containing numerous visual defects, such as knots, often referred to as character marks. Given that markets for character-marked wood could provide an income stream for management of red alder, it becomes important to understand consumer and retailer response to character-marked red alder products. In the current study, we used a policy capturing approach (the lens model) to assess the cues used by furniture consumers and retailers to evaluate several furniture pieces constructed from character-marked red alder lumber. The cues used by consumers and retailers to form willingness-to-pay judgments were found to be different. Character marks, design, and naturalness were important to consumers. None of the investigated cues were significant to retailers, suggesting they were using an entirely different model. Such divergence creates challenges in the forestry supply chain for development of new forest products.

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    Bumgardner, Matthew; David, Nicholls; Barber, Valerie. 2009. Character-marked furniture made from red alder harvested in southeast Alaska: product perspectives from consumers and retailers. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 39(12): 2450-2459.


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