This article on lumber markets seemed timely for a variety of reasons. It seems to me that we are looking at a window where, if we can find a solution, we will be helping rural communities, sustaining forests and in some cases offsetting costs of fuel reduction and hazard abatement (dead trees along roads, see photo). And for those which would have been otherwise burned in piles, helping to sequester carbon. Seems like a win win, if we all can agree on sustainable practices.
Here’s the link and below is an excerpt:
Lumber prices hit an eight-year high last week, thanks in large part to the U.S. housing market thawing out after a long deep freeze and rising overseas demand.
“The last few years have been a slow recovery from the recession for wood products,” Phil Tedder, a forestry consultant at Resource Economics, told the Los Angeles Times. “The main consumer was new housing, and that obviously wasn’t very good. But now things are picking up.”
California’s long-established timber industry is also hauling itself off the forest floor. According to the Times, sawmills shut down by the recession have reopened, and trucking companies that deliver cut wood out of state are seeing business improve. The newspaper also notes lumber prices have jumped 40% just in the past year’s time.
Also, China’s seemingly endless hunger for raw materials has extended to American timber. The U.S. Forest Service says log exports from Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Northern California increased about 9% in the third quarter of 2012 — with 62% of those West Coast log exports going to China.
In a report from ABC News, timber industry newsletter Random Lengths said the composite price for the framing lumber used in home construction was up last month to $415 per 1,000 board feet, compared to $284 a year ago. Plywood and paneling prices are up sharply as well.