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Processing Value of Small-Diameter Sawtimber at Conventional Stud Sawmills and Modern High-Speed, Small-Log Sawmills in the Western United States—A Comparison

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Past selective logging of early successional species [e.g., ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)] and effective fire suppression have dramatically altered forest composition and health over millions of acres in the western United States. Implementation of ecological restoration treatments to address these conditions will produce large volumes of small-diameter sawtimber for processing. Since sawmills currently process a majority of sawtimber harvested in the West (more than 80% in some regions), this study concentrated on determining the value of small-diameter sawtimber delivered to sawmills. A conventional stud sawmill and a modern, high-speed, small-log sawmill were profiled. A simulator (MSUSP) was employed to describe these sawmills and to determine breakeven delivered-sawtimber values by dbh class for each sawmill. Data inputs included machinery type, mill layout, machine speeds, volume and grade recovery, product prices, and fixed and variable manufacturing costs. Results showed that sawtimber 9 in. dbh and under could not cover harvest and delivery costs and earn even a modest (10%) return on invested (ROI) capital at the conventional stud sawmill and that sawtimber 7.5 in. dbh and smaller had negative values. However with a 10% ROI capital, the value of all sizes of sawtimber at the modern, high-speed sawmill equaled or exceeded harvest and delivery costs. West. J. Appl. For. 15(4):208–212.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: School of Forestry, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT, 59812 2: Bureau of Business and Economic Research, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT, 59812

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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