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Timber and Lumber Exports >
Hot Topic: Exporting
of Exporting Wood Products
What is the heart of the controversy
about exports? Like other resource management issues, it
is quite complex.
Exporting wood pests.
When logs and untreated wood products
are sent outside their native range, the wood can serve
as a vehicle for tree pests and diseases. These pests and
diseases travel to other regions of the world, where native
plants then play host to them.
imported from foreign locations has brought pests and
disease to the United States, but our exporting such problems
is less a public issue. However, careless exportation of
Oregon wood products can certainly send pests and disease
to other locations in the same way.
This Douglas-fir branch suffers from
a leaf-killing fungus called Swiss
needle cast. Swiss needle cast is native to forests
of the northern Pacific coastline so why is "Swiss"
in the name? The disease got its name once foresters in
Switzerland diagnosed the problem in young Douglas-fir plantations.
The Swiss not only imported Douglas-fir
seedlings in an effort to start plantation forests
they imported a tree disease too!
Increasingly strict rules on importing
and exporting logs and untreated wood products certainly
help mitigate these situations.
Which wood products should we export?
The four major categories of export
products, listed in order of importance, are logs, lumber,
plywood, and wood chips. Some say that, by exporting wood
products, we are essentially exporting jobs. For instance,
when a sheet of plywood is exported, then a domestic mill
to process that plywood into furniture isn't needed. Perhaps
more significantly, when a log (the least processed of all
wood products) is exported, then no local mill of any kind
is involved in secondary processing.
There are always at least two sides
to any issue. Export advocates point out that exporting
wood products means shipping and handling work. Also, a
country that imports raw logs may not be interested in the
milled products U.S. mills might export, so exporting timber
and other basic wood products may be better than exporting
nothing at all!
wood processing (secondary processing where a higher-valued
product is milled), followed by selling the value-added
products in a lucrative market (like the export market),
would be the best of both worlds. In some cases this occurs.
In others, it doesn't.