Oregon timber harvest highest in seven years

But 'cool-down' this year muddies picture

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon's timber harvest rose to 4.2 billion board feet last year, marking four straight years of improvement from the recession low of 2.72 billion board feet in 2009, the Oregon Department of Forestry said Tuesday.

"This was the first harvest above four billion board feet in seven years," said ODF principal economist Brandon Kaetzel, "and represents a 12 percent increase over the 2012 harvest of 3.75 billion board feet."

Approximately 49 percent, or 30.2 million acres, of Oregon is forested. Federal forestlands account for 60 percent of these forestlands, industrial forestlands for 19 percent, family forestland owners own 15 percent, state-owned forests comprise 3 percent, and all other forestland owners (counties, tribal, etc.), 3 percent.

Timber harvest increases can be attributed to a strong export market for Oregon logs in 2013, coupled with a domestic market recovery, particularly in housing.

Whether this trend will continue for the 2014 harvest is uncertain due to housing forecasts being revised to lower numbers and a sudden cool-down in the export market that occurred during the second quarter of the year.

The largest increase in harvest came from non-industrial private forestlands, where harvests increased 61 percent to 511 million board feet from the 2012 total of 318 million board feet.

"This is most likely due to small forestland owners taking advantage of higher prices as a result of a still strong export market in 2013," Kaetzel said. The harvest on industrial forestlands rose from 2.56 billion board feet in 2012 to 2.75 billion board feet in 2013, for an eight percent increase in harvest.

Harvests on Native American forestlands increased five percent from 2012 to 2013, rising from 63 million board feet in 2012 to a total of 66 million board feet in 2013.

On Oregon's west side, federal forestland posted modest increases in harvests; an 11.5 percent increase on Bureau of Land Management lands (for a 2013 total of 165 million board feet) and a 6 percent increase in harvests on U.S. Forest Service lands (totaling 392 million board feet in 2013).

State public lands, which include Common School Fund and Board of Forestry forestlands, posted a slight increase from 251 to 252 million board feet.

Klamath County continued to lead in Eastern Oregon with a 2013 harvest of 124 million board feet. Even with a diminished infrastructure, harvests on the east side rose approximately 4 percent due to increases on tribal, private, and other public (e.g. county) forestland.

There was a marked decrease in federal timber harvest on the east side for 2013. In western Oregon, Lane County continued to lead, with a 2013 harvest of 620 million board feet.

A link to the 2013 report, as well as links to previous years' annual reports, is available on the department's website at www.oregon.gov/ODF/pages/STATE_FORESTS/FRP/annual_Reports.aspx.

NOTE: One board foot of lumber is one foot wide, one foot long, and one inch thick, or the equivalent in volume. Construction of an approximately 1,800-square-foot house requires about 10,000 board feet.

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