Title page for ETD etd-08032011-102016

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lyon, Scott William
Author's Email Address swlyon@vt.edu
URN etd-08032011-102016
Title Breaking down barriers: Market opportunities for Appalachian forest products in Central America
Degree Master of Science
Department Wood Science and Forest Products
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Quesada-Pineda, Henry Jose Committee Chair
Kline, D. Earl Committee Member
Smith, Robert L. Committee Member
  • Central America
  • Appalachian forest products
  • international marketing
Date of Defense 2011-07-08
Availability unrestricted
The research purpose was to determine strengths and weaknesses of Appalachian wood products sales in Central America. In the future, there may be a greater need for international forest products in Central America due to increasing population size, tourism, and deforestation. Potential market opportunities for Appalachian forest product companies in Central America were evaluated and strategies were developed to increase exports from Appalachian wood product companies. Interviews of Central American wood products wholesalers and government and non-government officials were conducted to determine the current situation of the forest, the demand for local wood production, and potential for future production of wood products. A survey of wood products retailers and manufacturers was conducted to determine drivers and barriers of the sale of Appalachian wood products in Central America. Models were developed to describe relationships between company performance and suppliers and a series of independent variables (e.g, supplier promotion, product attributes).

Results suggested that U.S. wood products companies have not put enough effort into marketing forest products in Central America. Central American wood products consumers lack knowledge of Appalachian wood products and their advantages over wood products currently used. Inconsistencies between Appalachian and Central American wood products industries (e.g., dimensions, species terminology) act as a barrier to efficient exchange of wood products. Models suggest that companies may need to focus on barriers to increase company performance. The best market strategies for Appalachian forest products companies to increase sales into Central America are: partner with local wholesalers, offer higher value-added products, maintain similar pricing with competition, and offer sales and product discounts.

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