Forest Economics Prize Winners Shed Light on Global Softwood Economics

Chang Dr Wei Yew web

Forest Economics Prize Winners Shed Light on Global Softwood Economics

Chang Dr Wei Yew web

Winners of the inaugural Forestry Economics Prize have shed new light on gobal softwood economics, according to a line-up of experts on the prize committee.

Dr Wei-Yew Chang and Dr Chris Gaston, of the University of British Columbia, have been honoured with the award by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) for their paper A trade flow analysis of the global softwood log market: implications of Russian log export tax reduction and New Zealand log production restriction in Forestry 89(1):20-35. The paper was described by the adjudicators as both comprehensive and convincing in its results, with the potential to inform forest managers, regional investors, policy makers and other stakeholders concerned with global softwood economics.

The Forest Economics Prize Committee looked for innovative papers that would inform policies and practice affecting the sustainable management of forests, woodlands and trees. The panel included renowned forest economists Professor Hans Fredrik Hoen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Professor Niels Strange, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Professor Riitta Hänninen, Natural Resources Institute, Finland.

Professor Hans Fredrik Hoen, Chair of the Prize Committee, said:

“The results provided by this paper will help forest managers, regional investors, policy makers and other stakeholders assess how potential changes in roundwood trade policy or supply constraints may significantly change the export and import of softwood logs between countries and the implications this reallocation might have on regional roundwood prices.

“The analysis provides an application of spatial partial equilibrium models to the global forest sector. It demonstrates a strong and significant application of forest economics and forest products markets analysis. The modelling approach includes baseline scenario projections and three alternative scenarios that include a large amount of data, conditions and assumptions, being carefully described and explained. The data needs and the application of this kind of model in a practical and operational context is clearly demanding. The authors provide a detailed and careful description of the data and modelling approach. The paper presents a number of interesting and policy relevant results, which are explained and discussed comprehensively in a convincing way.”

Forestry is the ICF’s international journal for forest research, which is published by Oxford University Press. Dr Chang will attend the 2016 ICF National Conference dinner on 27 April in Newcastle to receive the award. Upon announcement of the prize, he said:

“It is a great honour to receive this award from the Institute of Chartered Foresters and have my research work published in such a prestigious and well-known journal. This recognition has motivated me to continue my research in this field. I hope that this paper will provide valuable insights for forest managers, policy makers, and the forestry industry to examine various important issues associated with the global forest-products markets.”

“I am grateful to my supervisor, Dr Chris Gaston (also the co-author of the paper), for his full support and inspiration, and the intellectual environment provided by the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. Without them, this award would not have happened.”

The Forest Economics Prize is sponsored by Phaunos Timber Fund. Chairman Sir Harry Studholme FICFor (Hon) said:

“Phaunos has been delighted to be able to sponsor this award. Just as our trees provide so much underappreciated value, the excellence of research of forest economics is an underappreciated part of the business of forestry. It underpins the quality of forest education and the credibility of forestry as an academic subject. Of particular pleasure to me is the relevance of the paper from Dr Wei-Yew Chang’s and his colleagues. From direct personal experience of Phaunos’s own business I know that the dynamic of softwood flows around the Chinese economy are a central driver of timber prices and hence forest management worldwide. This is a fascinating piece of work looking at China’s pivotal relationships with its suppliers including the vast but slow growing forests of Russia and the relatively fast growing and tightly managed Radiata Pine plantations of New Zealand.”

To read the winning paper in full, visit the Forestry Website.

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