Vision for a Forest Products Industry

Hawaii Forest Industry Association’s vision for a forest products industry is an industry which:

PRODUCES SUBSTANTIAL ECONOMIC BENEFITS FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII, INCLUDING
  • Employment opportunities offering full time family wage jobs
  • Increased economic activity which will create secondary and tertiary jobs
  • Reduced social service costs
  • Improved export-import balance
  • Better diversified economic base for greater stability
  • Restoration of Hawaii’s reputation as a place to grow raw materials and to manufacture goods
PRODUCES PRODUCTS WITH THE MAXIMUM PRACTICABLE VALUE ADDED IN HAWAII

Forest products can be sold at various stages in the manufacturing process ranging from least processed, (round wood logs for export), through fully manufactured consumer products such as furniture or musical instruments.  The industry should be vertically integrated to the extent feasible from growing through harvesting, primary manufacturing, secondary manufacturing for industrial sales, and final manufacturing for retail sales. More jobs are created as the material progresses toward production of finished products. As more jobs are created, more value is retained in state.  Also, in many cases, particularly in making fine furniture, greater skill is required for further value added processing, resulting in better, more satisfying, jobs and more economic impact.

 

IS FULLY INTEGRATED TO MAXIMIZE VALUE AND TO FULLY UTILIZE HARVESTED TREES

Each raw material type (i.e., species, age of timber, size, and wood quality) has its own optimum product application. Therefore, several different types of manufacturing facilities are needed to utilize all the wood harvested and to use it for its highest potential value product.   A fully integrated industry includes at least one facility of each primary manufacturing type.  At a minimum this includes a sawmill, a veneer mill, and a wood-to-energy facility to utilize residuals.  It is strongly preferred that there would be lumber kilns and finishing and a plywood layup plant. Whether under common ownership or separate ownerships, each facility will utilize the raw material it receives which is optimum for its process and swap sub-optimum raw material with the other facilities which can better utilize it.

WORKS TO CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE THE FOREST RESOURCE THROUGH                                                                  
  • Introducing higher value species, backed by field growth tests and market research
  • Continuous genetic improvements
  • Refining and following best silvacultural practices
  • Market development and silvaculture practices development for indigenous species
  • Planting more acres than are harvested

 

IS INTERNATIONALLY COMPETETIVE

The forest products industry has grown very international and competitive.  Our industry must be technologically advanced to be significant, even within Hawaii.  Creating international markets for our goods will not only enhance employment opportunities but will have substantial impact on our economy as new dollars flow into the state.

PRODUCES ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS INCLUDING
  • Watershed protection and enhancement
  • Invasive species suppression and control
  • Native forest restoration and utilization
  • Soil protection and enhancement

 

PRODUCES SUBSTANTIAL SOCIAL BENEFITS

A forest products industry’s greatest opportunity to create social benefits is through creation of full time permanent family wage jobs in rural areas where they are needed most. The industry will also support continuing education for its workers.

The groundwork for forestry in Hawaii was laid over a century ago with the first plantings of eucalyptus and other valuable Australian and South American species and the beginning of protection of trees from grazing animals.  This work was motivated primarily by the need to protect watersheds but was also driven by a wish to establish usable timber stands. The State Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) planting of the Waiakea Timber Management Area in the early 1960’s was the first major tree planting efforts targeted primarily for timber production.  The decline and near demise of the sugar and pineapple industries brought a resurgence of interest in finding new ways to utilize the abandoned plantations, particularly for forestry.  This era was marked by the passage of Daniel Akaka’s Tropical Forest Recovery Act and the planting of 17,000 acres of abandoned sugar lands on Hawaii Island with eucalyptus by private investors for commercial purposes. Numerous studies and papers sponsored by Hawaii Forest Industry Association (HFIA), DLNR, and the US Forest Service explored the properties of various species, their processing characteristics and detailed market analysis for the potential products. This Vision Statement considers and builds on these preceding documents (listed in the Appendix) and also builds on the experience gained subsequent to the studies.

Although sufficient forest plantations to support an industry have been established, no significant manufacturing facilities have been built as yet.  One segment of an integrated industry, fine custom furniture and artwork is flourishing.  HFIA continues its effort to support the growth of a forest products industry and to shape the direction will create the greatest benefits for the state and its people.

 

Appendix