Introducing Lesser-Known Wood Species from Certified Forests in Bolivia to the U.S. Market
Cossio Antezana, Victor H.
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A nationwide mail survey was conducted among importers and other members of the supply chain linked to the importation of tropical hardwood products to assess the market potential for Bolivian lesser-known wood species (LKS) in the U.S. market. One hundred and eleven companies responded to the questionnaire and provided information on their interest in importing lesser-known wood species, their willingness to pay for a Bolivian wood species substitute, percentage of their imports that are environmentally certified, and important factors considered to try new wood species. The results indicate that tropical hardwoods represent 33% of the product mix of companies that purchased wood products. Typically, companies imported less than 100 MBF in 2006. Sawnwood was the product that was imported the most, followed by plywood, veneer and flooring. Six Bolivian LKS are among the top 16 new wood species purchased by respondent companies in 2006 and three Bolivian LKS are part of the top 12 common tropical wood species imported in the U.S. Sixty-seven percent of overall respondents stated that they have plans to increase the imports of tropical hardwoods in 2007. Typically, members of the supply chain tried 1 to 2 new wood species in 2006. Retailers were the sector that tried the most, on average 5 new species. Price and availability were the major reasons to try new wood species. A MS-Access database was developed that allows comparisons of 20 potentially marketable Bolivian LKS with 10 common U.S. domestic hardwoods and 20 common tropical hardwoods imported into the U.S. Finally, strategic marketing recommendations are suggested to promote Bolivian LKS in the U.S. Results indicate that there are good opportunities for Bolivian LKS in the U.S market.
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