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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Forest Resources

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

February

First Advisor

David T. Damery

Second Advisor

Peggi Clouston

Third Advisor

Richard W. Wilkie

Subject Categories

Architectural Technology | Human Geography | Nature and Society Relations | Science and Technology Studies

Abstract

The dissertation presents a material-geographic analysis of the materiality of log home manufacturing and may be the first quantitative application of ‘new materiality’ concepts. It tests the thesis that log home attributes reveal a manufacturer’s geographic region and building culture. A study of human-environment interaction, the research investigated the organization of log home manufacturing in the Eastern Woodlands of North America and illustrates relationships between manufacturers, their perspectives on forest resources and their choices of log conversion (i.e., processing) methods. Data were obtained from secondary sources and by surveying managers of log home manufacturing firms. Methods included hierarchical cluster analysis, spatial analysis using the standard deviational ellipse, a spatial statistic, in GIS, and multinomial logistic regression. The results support the conclusion that log conversion attributes do, in fact, identify manufacturers’ regions, their perspectives on their forest resources, and, by extension, their building cultures. Surprisingly, the regions correspond to those originally established by Native Americans hundreds of years ago. A manufacturer’s log acquisition methods, distances from timber supplies, timber performance requirements, influences on log conversion methods, and perceptions of market barriers to offering ‘green’ certified logs were predicted by a manufacturer’s log conversion methods. Manufacturers’ perspectives on environmental issues and geographic distances from their markets were not. A manufacturer’s timber inputs were found to have profound implications. Higher volume manufacturers were more likely to acquire their timber locally or nearby as raw logs and were more likely to produce regionally specific log profiles. Lower volume manufacturers were more likely to acquire their timber as cants from a greater distance and to produce a greater variety of log profiles.