Timber harvest levels rise with Asian export demand
The states timber harvest levels are on the rise following a few lagging years in the wake of the 2008 housing market collapse.
This is the second consecutive year Oregons timber harvest increased. The states 2011 harvest brought 3.65 billion board feet, a 32 percent increase from a 2009 low of 2.75 billion board feet. It was also a 13 percent rise over 2010. A board foot of lumber is equivalent in volume to a piece of wood that is 1-foot wide, 1-foot long and 1-inch thick. A 1,800-square-foot house is made up of about 10,000 board feet.
In Columbia County, 285.9 million board feet was harvested last year. In 2010, 123 million board feet was harvested in the county.
Oregon Department of Forestry officials point to these gains coming from a strong export market, particularly in Asia, but especially China.
The U.S. markets slow recovery and other domestic markets are also driving demand for Oregon wood products, said Brandon Kaetzel, Department of Forestry principal forest economist, in a press release.
While harvests from state-owned and private land are rising, the amount of timber harvested from federal-owned forests making up 60 percent of Oregons total forested land was only 10 percent of what it was in the record year of 1988, when 4.93 billion board feet was cut down in federal forests.
Nearly 49 percent, or 30.2 million acres, of the state is forested.
While log exports remain strong, they have begun to taper off, Kaetzel said. I expect that lumber exports, along with increased domestic demand, will continue to drive timber harvests in Oregon.