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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

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Sustaining Forests

Globalization Impacts

The shift to a global economy touches America's forests. Some U.S. wood products may be less economical in a global market, changing the tree size or species harvested from the forest. International shipment of lumber, pallets, and other wood products introduces diseases and insects to which North American species have little resistance. Northern Research Station scientists are working to understand what world economies mean for U.S. forests and how forest managers can best respond to those challenges.

Research Studies

[photo:] Red oak filtchMarket Assessments and What it Means for Forests
The vital importance of the hardwood products industry to the Appalachian region shapes our research program. We evaluate local, national, and international hardwood markets and the impact of timber removals have on our residual forests. This research assesses how markets affect the sustainability of Appalachian region forests.


[photo:] Wooden chair components being produced by a U.S. manufacturerAssessing the Impacts of Globalization on the Appalachian Wood Products Industry
Globalization of wood products manufacturing is having dramatic effects on the domestic wood products industry.  The U.S. furniture industry in particular is facing increasing competition from low-cost regions like China, Viet Nam, and South America.  Today, over 60% of the wood household furniture sold in the United States is imported; 20 years ago, less than 5% was imported. 


[photo:] House under construction.Market Analysis in Support of the Appalachian Wood Products Industry
Like most industries, wood products companies face many challenges arising from changes in the broader economic environment. For example, the U.S. currently is facing the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression. The health of housing markets has consequences for the wood products industry, an integral part of the regional economy of the central Appalachians.


Last Modified: 03/06/2013