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Utilization of the Eastern Hardwood Resource by the Hardwood Sawmilling Industry

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The eastern hardwood resource contains numerous species that differ in grain, color, texture, and workability. Because the value of hardwoods is derived from appearance, these variations in physical attributes can cause the price for identical grades of hardwood lumber to vary by as much as 600% between species. As a result, there is incentive for primary processors to harvest certain species more intensively than others, which could affect long-term forest composition. This article introduces the concept of relative utilization to augment the infrequently published annualized growth-to-drain ratio and examines the relative utilization of 13 eastern hardwood species on a national and regional basis. An analysis of relative utilization coefficients developed from primary and secondary data showed that black cherry, red oak, hard maple, and yellow-poplar were relatively overutilized, while the gums, hickory, and beech were underutilized. Relative utilization has varied by species over time due to changes in furniture styling and the ability of industry to substitute species. Shade-tolerant species such as hard and soft maple are regenerating faster than shade- intolerant species, resulting in increased long-term supply even if current sawtimber volumes are relatively overutilized. North. J. Appl. For. 18(2):37–41.

Keywords: Hardwood; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; sawmills; timber utilization

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, 241 Mercer Springs Road, Princeton, WV, 24740 2: Weekly Hardwood Review, P.O. Box 471307 Charlotte, NC, 28247

Publication date: 2001-06-01

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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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