The specific research questions that the project will address are:
1. What is the extent and age class distribution of smallholder planted trees available for value added processing in the Luang Prabang region?
2. How can barriers to legal registration of smallholder planted trees be addressed, and transaction costs in their sale and delivery be diminished?
3. What forms of grower organisation and group certification are feasible and sustainable, and will improve returns to smallholders?
4. Which practices and processing technologies would facilitate significant improvements from log yard to seasoning and increase primary processing value recovery
5. Which practices and value-added manufacturing technologies would increase the value recovery of small dimensions, inferior quality plantation wood and facilitate early improvements from dry feed stock to marketable products?
6. Which strategies can be applied to improve productivity and quality in wood processing and manufacturing to improve competitiveness in global markets?
7. What training programs would be most efficient in improving skills in Lao wood processing and manufacturing?
8. What strategic actions are needed to improve the international competitiveness of the Lao wood industries?
The overall methodology used in this project is based on value chain analysis, with targeted research activities to address identified constraints and inefficiencies. The research approach involves a combination of analysis of spatial information; institutional and regulatory analysis; community based action research; capacity building and implementation of wood science research activities.