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Regional Examination of Red Oak Lumber Price Trends

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Nearly 25% of the eastern sawtimber inventories are of species classified as red oak. Over the last 20 yr, red oak has become the most commonly used hardwood in the production of furniture, kitchen cabinets, and millwork. However, differences in subspecies and growing conditions produce variations in color and texture of red oak lumber produced from timber grown in Northern, Appalachian, and Southern regions. In the late 1980s, users of hardwood lumber began to pay higher prices for red oak lumber from the Northern hardwood region. By 1995, grade 1 Common Northern red oak was selling at prices nearly 40% higher than for similar Southern red oak. This paper examines Northern, Appalachian, and Southern green and air-dried prices for three major grades of red oak lumber, and relates these changes to regional differences in the red oak resource and growing conditions and changes in the industries that use red oak lumber. The results of this analysis should be useful in evaluating the profitability of precommercial thinning and other short-term management practices used to increase the value of red oak sawtimber. North. J. Appl. For. 14(4):173-177.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 241 Mercer Springs Rd., Princeton, WV 24740, 304-431-2770;, Fax: 304-431-2772

Publication date: 1997-12-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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