National Forest Foundation

California Assessment of Wood Business Innovation Opportunities and Markets

California Assessment of Wood Business Innovation Opportunities and Markets

New report released

A new comprehensive report analyzing potential wood business innovations and market within California is now available.

The report is the second phase of a year-long assessment to analyze the utilization of small diameter wood to increase the pace and scale of forest health. The report includes detailed technical, market, organizational, and financial feasibility assessments for four promising technologies. It also includes key policy recommendations, business opportunities and further needed analysis. Models for the Phase II analysis are available upon request by emailing Vance Russell at the contact below.

Phase II Executive Summary

Phase II Full Report

Phase I Interim Report


Project Background

The National Forest Foundation through the services of a consulting team (The Beck Group, Carlson Small Power Consultants, Mason Bruce and Girard, and Fido Management) is working to:

  1. complete an assessment, analysis, and interpretation of current status and trends of the California wood products industry and markets;
  2. identify legitimate business opportunities that will help the U.S. Forest Service increase the pace and scale of forest ecosystem restoration;
  3. identify gaps and weaknesses in policy that must be addressed; and
  4. prepare realistic, high-level business plans with clear actionable items to implement the most promising opportunities.

It is expected that the study will lead to the identification of specific, actionable business development opportunities involving both public and private investors. If such businesses are subsequently developed, it will assist the U.S. Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation, private landowners, and other stakeholders in meeting their forest restoration objectives.

Given recent wildfires and the ongoing need for rural economic development, this is a timely project that addresses an issue of concern to public and private forest stakeholders in California.


To address the preceding objectives, the consulting team will complete the following tasks:

Understanding the Current and Potential Industry Infrastructure: assess the current state of the forest products industry in California including the traditional primary processing sector, secondary processors, and emerging technologies.

Existing and Potential Markets: assess the market outlook across a range of existing and potential forest products technologies and products.

Competitive Analysis: analyze the competitive position of a variety of prospective forest products businesses on the basis of markets, scale, commercial readiness, financeability, policy/regulatory constraints, raw material supply, etc. Through an iterative process the list of business opportunities will be narrowed to a select few for detailed feasibility and analysis planning.

High Level Operations Planning: For the high priority opportunities, the Consulting Team will carry out business feasibility and planning activities covering the full scope of business development activities, including identification of site requirements (including space, power and other utilities, transportation, availability of a labor force, environmental permitting, etc.); identification of the required equipment and the associated capital expense; estimates of delivered raw material costs; estimates of manufacturing costs, including general and administrative expenses; estimates of the sales realization of the products; and the key skills required of the management team.

Financial Analysis and Business Outreach: evaluate the economic feasibility of these high priority business opportunities using standard financial analysis tools, including the development of pro forma financial statements – income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and/or return on investment.

Work on the project is currently ongoing and it will be completed by late fall of 2015.


The California Wood Business Innovation Opportunities and Markets project scope was divided into two phases. In the first phase, a comprehensive list of technologies for converting wood fiber into products was developed. The technologies judged to provide the most promise for being developed into viable businesses in the context of California’s forest products industry were identified. The results of Phase I are summarized in the interim report. In the second phase, detailed feasibility assessment and business planning will be completed for the selected business opportunities and recommendations will be made about gaps and weaknesses in policy. Please direct any comments you may have to Vance Russell,

U.S. Forest Service Region 5 State and Private Forestry


If you have comments on the report or program please send them to Vance Russell at