Online information systems for today's forest industry
The Internet and its capabilities has become a powerful information tool for all members of society. Now more than ever, the internet is allowing important business information to be shared and gathered faster and more efficiently. Critical financial and business decisions are made on a daily basis, based on the information that is obtained through websites and online communication. A variety of informational resources are available to those with internet access. Some websites offer information at no cost, while others have a charge or membership fee to access pertinent information. The information gained through such websites is now being harnessed by forest industries, allowing many landowners, foresters, and forest businesses to make important business contacts more efficiently; while also gaining knowledge about current market trends and future wood supply and demand outlooks. Our purpose is to review some of the more common types of informational websites related to the forest and wood products industry and evaluate the data that these systems provide to the participants in the wood supply chain. This paper evaluates just a few of the many rapidly emerging websites available, with a focus on Virginia, USA. The main concern was to explore the different types of information available through the internet from a stakeholder perspective in the forest industry supply chain.