Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Center for Forest Business recently received a data collection program from forest industry consulting firm Forisk Consulting. The firm donated its Wood Demand Research Program, which tracks and analyzes the consumption of raw materials by companies and manufacturers in the forest industry.
The program’s data is invaluable to timberland industry researchers who can use it to estimate the health of the forest industry and track trends in wood usage.
The Center for Forest Business, under the direction of Bob Izlar, is housed in the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. The center integrates academic research and sound financial methods to support the forest industry, investors and landowners throughout the world with educational and outreach programs.
Because the center is a leader in forest industry and timberland investing research, it was a natural fit as a place to house the Wood Demand Research Program, said Brooks Mendell, president of Forisk Consulting. The firm created the program several years ago and expanded its scope from the Southeast to the entire U.S.
Mendell decided to donate the program to UGA because he felt the center would be better able to take advantage of the data it offers. “We are thrilled with this match,” he said. “Our Wood Demand Research Program has grown in size and scope, and we recognized a benefit in donating it to the Center for Forest Business, which has the resources to expand the use of this data to benefit the forest industry and forest owners.”
Currently, the program is comprised of 140,000 lines of data compiled from the raw material use of 3,600 mills nationwide. Its database details volume, stumpage, mill locations and breakdowns of bioenergy facility use, providing a detailed trend analysis of U.S. timber consumption.
In addition to donating the program to the Center for Forest Business, Tim Sydor, a Warnell alumnus who has been working on the database for Forisk, has joined the center’s staff and will continue the program’s data collection and wood market analysis, which includes a quarterly publication called the “Wood Demand Report.”
“The Wood Demand Research Program gives us the ability to better serve the forest industry not only in the South but throughout the United States,” Izlar said. “The program is supported through annual memberships. Each year, members receive updated databases and shapefiles for GIS applications of all wood-using mills in the U.S. In addition, the Wood Demand Research Program can support member efforts to better understand demand and competitiveness in their wood basins. This program gives the center’s faculty a unique dataset for evaluating industry competitiveness and market trends over time.”
Mike Clutter, dean of the Warnell School, agrees. “We are excited about how the Wood Demand Research Program fits our strategic plan,” he said. “Forisk has been a leader in timber market analysis since 2004, and this merging of capabilities gives the Center for Forest Business the ability to better serve the forest industry during times of limited resources. In total, this donation represents a competitive advantage to our faculty and enhances our grant-raising abilities.”