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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Integration in the forest industry of British Columbia Robinson, Peter

Abstract

Integration in the forest industry of British Columbia is a complex phenomenon. Its history is almost as long as that of the industry itself. The industry is multi-faceted, with many spheres of concern and activity, and the process of integration has necessarily been a highly differentiated one. Characteristically, it has developed at different rates and to different degrees in and between each of the various sectors of activity. This thesis will examine the growth of integration in the forest industry of British Columbia and will inquire into the fundamental factors of influence in the development of this phenomenon. The terminology applied to the various types of integration is reasonably standard and self explanatory. However, for the sake of clarity and since the industry is a complex one, it is appropriate to discuss the precise application of these terms in this thesis. There are four basic components of the British Columbia forest industry—forestry, harvesting, conversion, and marketing. Only the first of these functions remains substantially outside the private domain, and in consequence of this, timber control is generally treated as a function in itself. Within each of these sectors one finds the process of horizontal integration whereby like entities become amalgamated. This is generally referred to as concentration or as consolidation. In the conversion or manufacturing sector, activity is sufficiently differentiated by output that four major product groups may be identified—lumber, shingles, plywood, and wood pulp. Integration between these sectors is vertical integration. Integration between any of the four functions in the industry (e.g. logging, conversion, etc.) is referred to as vertical integration. It involves the inclusion of two or more industry functions within a single corporate structure. Not all integration is corporate however, and various forms of cooperative integration are prevalent throughout the industry. This is an extremely important aspect of industry structure, and it is found in harvesting (contract logging), conversion (log exchange, residue sales), and marketing (consortium selling.) The major environmental forces acting upon the industry lie in three principal areas—the nature of the raw material base, the activities of government, and the nature of the market environment. Their influences upon integration have always been a combination of pressure and facilitation. Government, for instance, has introduced forest utilization regulations and large-scale and semi-permanent tenures. The former development has put great pressure on firms to integrate, while the latter has facilitated the formation of large-scale manufacturing operations. In marketing, competitive pressures have stimulated integration of many types, while the consolidation of channels and growth of markets have facilitated forward integration into this phase of activity.

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