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Converting among Log Scaling Methods: Scribner, International, and Doyle versus Cubic

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Sawlogs in the United States, whether scaled on the ground or cruised on the stump, have traditionally been measured in terms of their lumber yield. The three commonly used measurement rules generally underestimate true recoveries. Moreover, they do so inconsistently, complicating the comparisons of volumes obtained by different board foot rules as well as by the cubic rules used internationally. In particular, for smaller log diameters, the undercount of board foot volume by US log scales can rise sharply. As sizes available to sawmills have declined, the ratios between scaled and actual volumes have changed. Thus, the factors used to convert volumes from one system to another have become outdated. A transition to cubic would improve domestic log market transparency by reducing the worst inequities of board foot scales and making regional comparisons easier, and would create a level playing field internationally.

Keywords: conversion factors; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; inventory; marketing; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Economist Forest Products Laboratory USDA Forest Service One Gifford Pinchot Drive Madison WI 53726-2398, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
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