A comparative analysis of wood-supply systems from a cross- cultural perspective
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An analytical tool must combine sufficient scope with cultural neutrality to be adequate for analyzing problems across technological style boundaries. The concept of a wood-supply system is proposed, defined as a mechanism generating a consistent flow of wood to a set of wood-consuming mills, beginning its work with the severing of trees and ending it by feeding a pulping digester or head saw. The contrast in wood flow between the wood-supply systems of the Southern United States and Sweden is explored. The systems accommodate surges in wood-consumption rates and changes in wood-supply difficulty differently .. The South maintains a small wood inventory by keeping considerable production capacity idle; Sweden keeps little capacity idle by maintaining a large cushion of wood inventories. The implications of differences in relative cost between wood in inventory and forcibly idle production capacity are discussed. As a result of the historically motivated emphasis on accounting for capacity in Sweden and for wood in the South, costs associated with wood inventories and idle capacity appear to have been overlooked in a mirror-image pattern. The transfer of equipment between harvesting styles whose evolution has been governed by different relative costs has a high risk of failure. Southern equipment is cheap, uncomplicated. robust, and dependable in order to survive forced idleness and to produce without buffer inventories. Swedish equipment is expensive, complex, sensitive, and less dependable, due to the freedom to produce at capacity and the occurrence of large buffer inventories. Equipment manufacturers need to estimate the relative cost of idle wood and idle capacity when analyzing equipment exports across style boundaries. Suggestions for further work include an exploration of the relative cost in each region, and the development of unbiased methods of accounting for idle resources. It is also suggested that the different interpretations of the concept of forestry in Europe and North America be explored.
- Doctoral Dissertations