Historically, Pennsylvania has been a leader in energy production. It was the site of the nation's first oil well. Its coal fields fueled the industrial revolution. It remains a major producer and exporter of coal and electricity and continues to produce oil and gas. The Commonwealth's historic energy production, however, relied upon non-renewable resources and came at the cost of pollution of water, air and land caused by non-sustainable practices. With the enactment of the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, the Commonwealth reasserted its leadership role, this time through the creation of a vision for achieving a more sustainable energy future.
Lumber markets seem headed up as China ramps up its consumption of the world's lumber supply. But other factors may prevent that...
In June of 2008 Penn State Extension administered and financially supported a collaboration of Mid-Atlantic scientists, engineers, industry personnel, and policy advisors to visit, tour, and analyze Austrian bioenergy efforts.
by Ed Johnstonbaugh Extension Educator, Agri-Energy Economic Development Penn State Agricultural Extension, Westmoreland County
Pennsylvania’s forests are rich in potential bio-energy from small-diameter trees that are overcrowded, under-utilized, and inhibit the opportunity for professional management.
The wood pellet industry in Pennsylvania has seen both opportunities and challenges in the past year, and shows great potential for sustained growth. However, recent shortages of supply and other problems have underscored the fact that the industry will not reach its potential unless a series of significant barriers are dealt with.
"I'm exploring the possibility of building a black locust deck, as I understand that the wood is naturally very insect- and rot-resistant. I'm having difficulty locating sources of black locust, however. Do you know of anyone who sells it? Thanks in advance for any information that you might have." Yours, Laura White Huntingdon, PA
The sawmill industry today faces many challenges: the amorphous nature of global competition, the housing boom and bust, environmental concerns, etc. But the inherent qualities of wood make it an important material; there seemingly will always be demand for softwood and hardwood lumber.
As a manager, you can’t expect your organization to change unless individual employees accept the changes. This Tech Note will help managers to understand how to encourage desired behaviors by their subordinates.
As a forest landowner there are relatively simple things you can do to save money by paying less income tax.
We’re always going to have a wood products industry in North America, because we’ve been blessed with a wonderful natural resource that man has an affinity for and will always want to utilize. But the reality is that our industry is getting smaller, and that some percentage of you may not be in the industry ten years from now. That’s a shame, but I don’t believe it has to happen to you.
In November 2005, we began reporting on our progress to help define a scientifically rigorous dialogue around the proposed EU requirement of "debarked" pallets for international import and export of products. Following is a recap of the issue, and a summary of our findings.
Have you ever heard of nanotechnology? Better yet, have you ever heard it with respect to wood science, and wondered why? In this WoodPro TechNote, Dr. Jeff Catchmark explains current Penn State research into nanotechnology and its application to wood science.
In this TechNote we address a management practice known as “environmental scanning”, or just scanning for short. Scanning has been used by a variety of organizations for many years, with its origination perhaps coming from military intelligence and strategic planning. Environmental scanning is known as a key function of successful managers working at successful organizations. In fact, almost all large, successful companies encourage their managers to engage in scanning, and we felt it is such a valuable tool that wood industry leaders should learn more about it.
In 2002, one hundred and thirty-two countries came together in agreement to implement ISPM 15, an international guideline for regulating wood packaging material for international shipments, with the objective of controlling undesirable translocation of quarantined biological pests. In an extension of this standard, Australia, the EU, and other countries are proposing further that this packaging be manufactured free of tree bark. Their contention is that bark is a pathway for re-infestation, whether treated or not. While technical studies are in progress to test the proof of this theory, we at Penn State are studying the economic ramifications on the North American pallet producing industry, as well as their suppliers and customers, of adoption of this specific additional regulation.
Over 70 hardwood industry leaders and researchers recently attended “WoodPro 2004: The Penn State Hardwood Industries Leadership Conference,” held May 24-26, 2004 in State College, PA. The event was sponsored by The Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council, The Pennsylvania Forest Products Association, The Empire State Forest Products Association, and The Pennsylvania State University.
The year 2002 was an interesting one in the Pennsylvania hardwood industry, thanks to an over-abundance of mysterious and various stains in hard and soft maple. Producers across the state, but especially in the central to Northeast region of the state, reported significant problems with staining in maple that was far beyond the usual level.
You’ve recognized that your company is suffering from a disadvantaged business or operational model, possibly stemming from the phenomenon of double jeopardy. You’ve analyzed the constraints of your system or systems. Having charted a new course, you’ve re-prioritized your goals accordingly. Now is the time to execute…and from a management standpoint, that means to properly re-allocate your resources.
Once you’ve assessed the constraints in your current system, you may have a new sense of where your company needs to be moving, but unsure on how best to respond to the emerging opportunity. It’s a good time to re-prioritize your operational goals based on the relationship between current market conditions and your evolving vision for the business.
“As an operational step in the plan, your company should analyze its constraints against implementing this strategy [expanding your customer base], and move precious resources to allow your company to better meet the re-prioritized goals.”
Are you producing as good or better products than the competition, but struggling to understand why consumers seem to choose the competition more often? Do you watch in frustration as companies with inferior products seem to bring in all the business, and attract all the attention? Do you wonder why their customers stay loyal, while yours seem to flee at the first sign of a “bargain”? Your company could be a victim of the phenomenon of double jeopardy.