Timber & Lumber Imports
"According to Western
Wood Products Association's 2003 lumber forecast,
U.S. lumber consumption should reach an all-time high
of 54.7 billion board feet in 2003, eclipsing the
previous mark of 54.3 billion board feet set in 1999.
Demand in 2002 is expected to match the 54.3 billion
board foot mark."
Wood Products Association
(WWPA) press release, October 2002.
Where does America get its lumber and
timber that it processes in its mills? Increasingly, other
countries supply the resources to satisfy our national demand.
Take 2003 for example. Lumber imports
are forecast to rise more than 500 million board feet. WWPA
predicts Canadian shipments will grow 1.6 percent to 18.7
billion board feet. Non-Canadian imports are expected to
be up 15.3 percent to 2 billion board feet, led by European
lumber volumes topping 1 billion board feet for the first
Softwood log imports are less significant
than actual lumber imports. "Softwood" refers
to logs produced from cone-bearing trees, or "conifers"
trees like the pines, Douglas-fir, and hemlock, which make
up the bulk of the commercial timber harvested in Oregon.
Major sources of these logs includes Canada (over 90 percent),
New Zealand, and Brazil.
Oregon mills import wood, too. Mills
may have a higher production rate than can be satisfied
year-by-year by the current harvest from Oregon forests.
Also, sometimes consumers demand products made from from
non-native wood local facilities can be part of that
Although we all need housing, we also have a choice
about the type of housing we demand. Because housing
is the leading per capita consumption of wood products
(in the form of lumber, plywood, and exterior siding),
the type and size of house we choose to buy helps define
According to Mike Dombeck, former chief
of the U.S. Forest Service, from 1971 to 1996 the average
size of homes in the United States grew from 1,520 square
feet to 2,120 square feet. Meanwhile, the average family
size has dropped by 16 percent. "Americans require
more wood for larger homes than ever before, often in our
rapidly diminishing open spaces." New-home construction
will consume 21.2 billion board feet in 2003 (WWPA).
Wood continues to be an amazingly efficient,
renewable resource, that can satisfy consumer demand...
as long as we have reasonable demands.