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Chinese market boosts Oregon timber harvests


For the second straight year, Oregon’s timber harvest levels rose significantly in 2011, due largely to exports to China and other Asian markets, state officials said Monday.

Harvests, at a low of 2.75 billion board feet in 2009 after the 2008 collapse of the domestic housing market, posted a gain in 2010, and a similar increase was experienced in 2011.

The 2011 harvest of 3.65 billion board feet was up 32 percent from the 2009 low and up 13 percent from 2010.

“Much of these gains can be attributed to an active export market to Eastern Asia, especially China,” said Brandon Kaetzel, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s principal forest economist. “The U.S. housing market’s slow recovery and other domestic markets are also driving demand for Oregon wood products.”

About 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 harvests from 2010 to 2011 increased on U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands in Oregon by 24 and 47 percent, respectively. The Forest Service had the largest increase, up 120 million board feet, for a 2011 total harvest of 374 million board feet — the highest total for Forest Service lands since 1997.

Likewise, 165 million board feet were harvested on Bureau of Land Management lands, the largest total since 1996.

Even with these increases, 2011 federal timber harvests are only 10 percent of the 25-year high in 1988, when 4.93 billion board feet was harvested. Other public forestlands (e.g., county lands) posted a 38 percent increase, for a total of 44 million board feet harvested in 2011.

Harvests increased over 2010 levels on all public lands except for State forestlands, where there was a decrease of six percent, for a 2011 total of 280 million board feet; however, this harvest level is slightly above the five-year average of 273 million board feet from these lands.

Forest industry accounted for nearly 67 percent of Oregon’s total timber harvest in 2011, with 2.46 billion board feet, an 11 percent increase from 2010.

Family forestland owners accounted for 278 million board feet in 2011, an increase of 22 percent over 2010. Finally, timber harvests decreased from 2010 on Oregon’s Native American Tribal forestlands by 34 percent, for a 2011 harvest total of 52 million board feet.

The 2011 western Oregon timber harvest from all ownerships increased 14 percent from 2010, to 3.2 billion board feet. Harvests increased in eastern Oregon by1.6 percent to 406.66 million board feet.

Lane County held on to the western Oregon title for most productive county, with a total of 529.55 million board feet harvested in 2011. In eastern Oregon, Klamath County had the most timber harvested, with a total of 106.72 million board feet.

“While log exports remain strong, they have begun to taper off,” said Kaetzel. “I expect that lumber exports, along with increased domestic demand, will continue to drive timber harvests in Oregon.”

The 2011 report, as well as previous years’ annual reports, is available on the department’s website at

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