Grad Research Areas

Forest Economics and Forest Products Marketing

Forest Economics Program

The Forest Economics graduate program is uniquely structured to provide a flexible educational program to graduate students interested in applied economic analysis. Economic theory, together with applications to management and use of forest resources, public and private resource policy, the forest products industry, environmental regulation, resource planning and international resource development and trade are emphasized. Students draw upon the expertise of other related departments and programs of the University, including the Department of Economics, Graduate School of Business Administration, Graduate School of Public Affairs, School of Law, the Jackson School of International Studies, and the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR). Students may focus study on one of three areas: 1) quantitative economic analysis, 2) policy analysis, and 3) business and industry (including marketing).

Current research involving forest economics encompasses:

  • Global international trade in forest products
  • Environmental linkages to international forest utilization and trade, including cumulative effects
  • Forest policy, sustainable development, and management (national and international)
  • Timber supply/ecosystem assessment and modeling
  • Public and private timber management practices and policies (including taxation, environmental regulation and land use planning)
  • Economic and environmental tradeoff analysis
  • Spatial land management planning within a hierarchical system
  • Competitiveness analysis for forest products, including value added and quality factors
  • Landscape management, economic incentives, and social/economic/political/institutional factors related to timber and non-timber resource use
  • Forest industries development, marketing, and regional analysis of economic contribution of forest resource utilization
  • International competitiveness, comparative economic advantage, and markets for forest products (including substitution of wood vs. non-wood products)
  • Supply, demand and price analysis
  • Institutional arrangements for forest resource management and utilization (market and non-market mechanisms)
  • Soft optimization techniques for forest management

Forest Products Marketing Program

The Forest Products Marketing program offers graduate degrees at the master's and doctoral level. Students may focus on either Forest Products Marketing or Operations Research. Graduate students enroll in a formal program of interdisciplinary academic course work and applied market research for courses taught within the School of Forest Resources and by the School of Business Administration. Students are encouraged to expand the interdisciplinary nature of their program by enrolling for courses in the Graduate School of Public Affairs, School of Law, and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Additionally, students can draw on other programs in the School of Forest Resources, including Forest Economics, Social Sciences (Policy and Law), Silviculture, Paper Science and Engineering, Quantitative Resource Management, Urban Horticulture, Ecosystem Management, and Forest Engineering.

The Forest Products Marketing emphasis provides students the unique opportunity to view the forest products industry from a marketing orientation that focuses on the customer. Historically, the forest products industry has relied on a production-oriented management philosophy that emphasizes the cost-efficient production of commodities. However, dramatic changes in resource quality and timber availability have complicated the competitive environment facing the industry. Rising prices and price instability have created market opportunities for new engineered wood products as well as non-wood substitute products.

The increasingly competitive business environment in the forest products industry means that managers need to change their orientation from simply maximizing production efficiencies towards a market orientation that emphasizes the needs of the customer so as to increase the profitability of the firm. This change in management philosophy implies that the forest products managers of the future will need to possess a different set of management skills than their counterparts of the past to compete effectively.

The Operations Research program concentrates on the application of quantitative techniques to the management of forest products manufacturing processes, procurement of materials, and optimal conversion of raw materials into finished products. Course work focuses on applied statistics, computer science, business management, and mathematical optimization and simulation modeling techniques. Students choosing this area are given an opportunity to become proficient in a diverse set of quantitative methods which could be applied to the development of manufacturing production schedules, statistical process control, or strategies for procuring and converting lumber into value-added products.

Current Research:

  • Marketing of forest products
  • International trade and forest products marketing
  • Operations research in the forest products industry
  • Successful business-to-business relationships between forest products distributors and suppliers
  • Life cycle inventory analysis of environmental performance
  • Adoption and diffusion of new building materials in the construction industry
  • Financial performance in the pulp and paper industry
  • Assessment of industrial markets for softwood clearwood lumber
  • Developing new products and markets for small-diameter timber
  • Material substitution between wood and non-wood structural building materials
  • Product bundling strategies for forest products
  • Value-added wood products manufacturing clusters in the Pacific Northwest
  • Assessment of US export strategies for prefabricated wooden housing in Japan
  • Marketing objectives and pricing strategies in international countertrade
  • Transfer of North American 2x4 construction technology to Japan

For more information please see School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.