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Regional Analysis of Hardwood Lumber Production: 1963–2005

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Between 1963 and 2005 hardwood lumber production in the eastern United States increased by more than 50%. Production more than doubled in the northeastern and north central regions while increasing by less than 25% in the southeastern and south central regions. Increased lumber production in the northern regions was facilitated by an expanding sawtimber inventory, relative high volumes of select oak species and hard maple, an expanding kitchen cabinet industry, increased exports, and increased lumber demand by the pallet industry. Hardwood lumber production in the south central region was correlated with hardwood flooring production. When flooring production declined between 1963 and 1982, south central lumber production declined. After 1982 flooring production increased and hardwood lumber production in the south central region followed. By contrast, lumber production in the southeastern region has been tied to the fortunes of the wood and upholstered furniture industries. As furniture imports increased, the demand for lumber by these industries first stagnated and then declined. As a result, lumber production in this region declined between 1982 and 2005. Today, much of the commodity product portions of hardwood-demanding industries are facing international competition. By contrast, a driver of growth in hardwood lumber demand seems to be smaller manufacturers producing custom and semicustom products. These new industries tend to purchase higher-quality lumber but can use a variety of species. Therefore, states or regions with high volumes of timber and a broad composition of species have the greatest potential for future growth in hardwood lumber production.
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Keywords: hardwood; lumber; supply

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-09-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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