Advancing enhanced wood manufacturing industries in Laos and Australia

Project code
AUD 3,099,839
Research program manager
Dr Nora Devoe
Project leader
Dr Hilary Smith
Commissioned organisation
The University of Melbourne
APR 2017
NOV 2022
Project status
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This project aimed to help the Lao PDR and Australia to develop innovative wood processing industries to enhance markets for planted timber resources.

The wood manufacturing industries in Lao PDR are in their infancy compared with those in neighbouring countries. There is already some 215,000 ha of planted teak, rubber, eucalyptus and acacia for which there are limited markets, but the wood processing sector has not yet adopted new processing technologies widely used in Vietnam and China. 

Research and development are needed to support the development of new processing capabilities and a range of Engineered Wood Products (EWPs) that can be produced from small-diameter timbers. Specific skills and knowledge are lacking on the processing of wood for appearance, structural and housing construction purposes and on enhancing termite and decay resistance in the timber products. Further research is needed on aspects of the timber value chain between the plantation and processing industry to ensure an efficient supply of wood resources and provide necessary information to support investment in new processing facilities. 

Expected outcomes

  • An improved policy, regulatory and administrative environment for appropriate plantation development, more efficient value chains and the expansion of an internationally competitive Laos PDR forest industry.
  • Improved knowledge of plantation timber resources together with more effective policy and regulatory arrangements facilitates new investments in innovative wood processing facilities in Lao PDR.
  • Expanded, more diverse and profitable Lao PDR forest industry, and benefit from the production of EWPs for domestic markets.
  • Expanded the Australian wood processing industry through the production of innovative EWPs.
  • Improved livelihoods of plantation growers, and greater and more secure opportunities for employment in the plantation wood processing sector.
Key partners
Australian National University
Luang Prabang Teak Program
National University of Laos
Queensland Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries
fact sheet placeholder image
Fact sheet FST/2016/151