mgrickenbach's blog

Heroes of Uncertainty - Today's Op-Ed from David Brooks

This morning op-ed from David Brooks deals with the fundamental difference from between social and physical sciences, and their application in the real world. It is useful in helping people think through what the social sciences can help us discern about problem-solving in the world. The snippet and link from The New York Times...

Blogging Logging 6 - Employees & Contractors

In 2003 most logging businesses were organized as one-person, owner-operator businesses with no employees. However, given the nature of the sector, we may have missed an important aspect of the labor situation in the 2003 study, the use of subcontractors.  For 2010, we found that logging businesses were equally or more likely to use subcontractors than they were to have employees. It also appears that there is a slight shift toward larger businesses. The average number of full-time equivalent employees rose to 2.5 in 2010 from 1.8 in 2003.

Blogging Logging 5 - Business demographics

Wisconsin loggers are the backbone of the wood products industry, a primary contributor to the Wisconsin economy and the sustainable management of forests in the state.  In 2003 the median age of a logging business owner was 46, with most falling in the 35-54 year range. In 2010, we found that business owners had nearly “aged in place” with the median rising to 52 years and most in the 45-64 year range. Notably, the percentage of owners who have spent 30 or more years logging (not necessarily as an owner) in 2010 was nearly double that of 2003.


Blogging Logging 4 - Factors affecting profitability

Many factors affect the profitability of businesses. Understanding which do and which don’t have implications how we structure public policy and how wood-using industries make procurement decisions.  Wisconsin logging businesses rated the importance of 11 factors that could affect their profitability during their 2003 and 2010 production years.  Respondents in both surveys indicated that all factors were either “somewhat important” or “very important.” 


Blogging Logging 3 - Profitability and production capacity

For both 2003 and 2010, loggers were asked to qualitatively assess their company’s profitability.  Possible responses ranged from “very poor” to “excellent” with a mid-point indicating “average/broke even” ("good" and "excellent" are combined for analysis).

Blogging Logging 2 - Harvest systems & production volumes

Wisconsin logging businesses have not experienced much change in terms of the way they harvest and process trees.  We compared the harvest systems that respondents used to fell and process timber by their 2003 and 2010 production years. For our analysis, we separated survey respondents into one of four categories based on their use of one or more harvesting technologies.

Council on Forestry to consider recommendations on changing the MFL

On Monday, 22 April, The Council on Forestry will discuss a series of sub-committee recommendations that might form the basis of legislative changes. The sub-committee's report is available here.

Blogging Logging 1 - Introduction to 2011 Logging Sector Survey Findings

Over the next 15 weeks we will share the findings from the survey of the logging sector conducted in 2011. Each week will feature a different aspect of the survey findings, with an emphasis on comparing the 2011 data to those collected in 2004. That is, we will compare the 2003 and 2010 production years. After the series, we will move these summaries toward a comprehensive print publication.

Right now, the outline looks like this…


Lost loggers: Eau Claire paper covers the lack of young people in sector

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram published, "Declining number of young loggers worries some in industry", which outlines a key challenge for the logging sector as well as those that depend on it for lumber, pulp, and other fiber. Depending on how many times you acess the paper, you may have to pay for access. It was publiished on 3 March 2013 and reported by Chuck Rupnow.





NEW: Wisconsin Landowners and ecosystem services

New PublicationThe UWEX Learning Store has just published, Expanding Sustainable Forestry on Wisconsin Woodlands. This publication reports on recent research describing Wisconsin's woodland owners, focused in two areas:

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