This project investigated theoretical foundations with respect to the analysis of determinants in industrial decision-making. Within the scope of this discussion emerged certain advantages of evolutionary and historical-analytical methods in dealing with these issues. Technological and industrial progress indicates general limitations in individual actors´ degrees of freedom, such that relatively narrow corridors will be occupied in the course of respective advances. Predominance of the implied path-dependency hypothesis was, after all, corroborated by the findings of this study of the pulp industry. In order to arrive at a detailed analysis of the various factors of production in the innovation process, a close-up picture was drawn of technical aspects in the development of the pulp industry over the past 50 years. While labour and energy became ever more productive through continuous innovation activity, hardly any progress was made in raw goods productivity (lumber in the case of the pulp industry). In Germany, where in terms of resources for production political regulation worked towards the sealing off of forests, substitution of lumber by means of paper recovery has become widely prevalent. Any kind of fresh fibre pulp qualities needed for production is for the most part being imported. Running parallel to this increase of recovered paper use in paper production the pulp industry shift in the kinds of lumber demanded. Especially, this meant a radical redesign of forest inventories to fast growth monocultures. Judging from present trends in technology, these practices are to prevail in the following years. Productivity gains are predominantly achieved by genetic modification as to suit the demands of the paper industry.


Umweltbundesamt , Dessau , DE

Project duration

01.01.1999 - 31.12.2000

Project members

Suhita Osorio-Peters