Timber Tables – All 50 States with Caveats

database screenshot
Note: you can click on this screenshot to make it larger.

Thanks to Chelsea for producing this table from the database here.

Chelsea and the folks at Forest Products Laboratory gave me some caveats, which I tried to understand. Not sure I am there but hopefully others can correct me.

These tables do not include “fuelwood”. Nor do they include biomass chips which have not been processed through mills here (I think). So I guess they don’t include export logs either?

The folks in the Northeast sent this..when I asked about the export of logs and chips.

We also try to capture the export market. But the export market is hard to get good information from. We ask the mills that we canvass if any of the logs are exported overseas. Trying to get information from the ports as to what is exported is problematic. There are issues with species identification and sources of the logs. For example, there is a large log exporter in Council Bluffs, IA to pulls logs from all over the country. But the source of the logs that are exported may be listed as only coming from IA.

For the pellet stuff, I was just saying that for the North, at least, we haven’t done a TPO survey in the New England States (I think Maine has a pellet mill, or more). I am getting information from ME, NH, and VT from their tax information that they collect, so I cannot get mill level information. Therefore, I do not know if, or which pellet mills are being captured. The pellet mills that I have in our database currently are in MI and WI. I do not know if these are exported or not.

From the RPA, fuelwood includes residential and industrial fuelwood. The industrial fuelwood comes from our TPO surveys and, for the most part, the residential fuelwood comes from the Dept. of Energy fuelwood surveys

But given all those caveats.. Industrial Roundwood Harvest by State is the table of all 50 states from the TPO database. Again, thanks to Chelsea!

I also ran across this link to some information about the wood pellet sector. Not sure that there is information you can add up to say “this is where US trees are going” across the different uses.

12 thoughts on “Timber Tables – All 50 States with Caveats”

  1. Derek and others, I would suggest looking at and comparing cubic volumes, rather than International 1/4″ rule, as it tends to present a more accurate picture of the total volume of the tree.

    I also want to point out another important caveat, the data for each state represent different calendar years, most of which are actually not 2012 harvest numbers. I can’t seem to find the link from the rpa tpo website that lists the data year for each state, but I’ll keep looking. For example, since we (BBER) collect the data in the West, Montana is 2009 data, Oregon is 2008 data, Washington is 2010 data, etc.

    For questions about whether roundwood-chips used for pellets or other questions about what is included, I would suggest looking at the state harvest and industry reports that the Forest Service publishes and can be found on treesearch. Just search for the state name and “forest industry”.

    • Thanks for providing this extra information and context Chelsea. I suspected there was more to the numbers and continue to be amazed at the apparent lack of anything uniform within the agency to tell the public (in a very clear, apples-to-apples way) what the federal timber sale program looks like. Of course, the public used to have the TSPIRS report, which provided a nice large piece of the puzzle. But the Bush-Rey Forest Service didn’t much like TSPIRS, as it showed the money-losing nature of the federal timber sale program. Anyway, thanks for pointing out that the Montana numbers in the report were from 2009, the single worst economic year in the USA since the Great Depression era.

      • Matt: I would argue over 2008 vs. 2009, but we have the same time frame. I’m in total agreement with your statement that you: “continue to be amazed at the apparent lack of anything uniform within the agency to tell the public (in a very clear, apples-to-apples way) what the federal timber sale program looks like.”

        I’d argue the same lack of capability and/or transparency when it comes to reporting on the “best science” used to create their policies and regulations.

        If these people are simply incompetent, then we need to overhaul the workforce. If they are being blatantly dishonest and deceptive, then we need to overhaul the agency.

      • I agree with you, Matthew, but I think in the landscape scale context, we need to understand both critters on and off federal land and products on and off federal land. In other words knowing about federal timber sales alone is necessary but not sufficient to inform the public and lawmakers.

  2. I find it a bit ironic…that the so called “liberal” states in the Northeast…seem to log like crazy. Vermont gave obama 67% of the vote in 2012,and yet cut almost as much sawtimber as Montana(isn’t Ben and Jerry’s based in Vermont?). It’s even more lopsided when Vermont has 4.6 million acres of forest VS. Montana’s 22.5 mil. acres.Oh…but it’s OK…they only cut half of what grows…while I’m guessing Montana cuts a tenth of what grows(and that’s probably on the low side). What do they have in common? Almost all of Vermont is private property while 6 million acres of Montana’s forest is private. Gives you an idea of where the timber is coming from in Montana. New York…which buries Montana in sawtimber production…gave Obama 63% of the vote(of course, once you get away from “the city”, NY has a lot of “red” counties).

    If the National forests in Montana are to be managed for “all the people” and not just the local yokels, then doesn’t it smack of enviro hipocricy when the “all” are logging the hell out of their back yards?
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Ben and Jerry are logging their empire. East coast enviro colonialism. At least with past imperialsim, the colonies were exploited for natural resources. With this colonialism the Montana natives are being exploited for nothing more than an abstract feel good notion. Being exploited so Ben and Jerry can feel good about themselves when they stand up and proclaim, for all around them to hear, how they support managing the national forest is Montana as a national park.

    Thank God for private property. Ya know, Pinchot, no fan of the Weyerhausers of the world, floated a plan in his old age to extend “Federal regulation” over “private forests.” If he had succeeded, I speculate what kind of “can-o-worms” that would have created in the last 30 years. I wonder if NEPA and the ESA, along with the attendant litigation, would have then been extended to private forests? Of course, it could have backfired. Perhaps if Ben and Jerry would have to go through litigation on their private timber sale…NEPA and ESA would have been reformed by now. Anyway…pure speculation.

    • Derek, of course this is just a suggestion, but you may wish to read Chelsea’s important caveats about the table before jumping to any conclusions or making apples to bananas comparisons. It would be too bad if you would end up making statements that aren’t factual. Thanks.

        • Personally, I’m not looking to ‘crowd-fund’ anything that, in my opinion, the federal government (US Forest Service) should be providing the public for free. Chelsea is a very competent researcher (and I assume she doesn’t work for free at UM’s BBER) and she’s expressed a number of times on this blog the difficulty of gathering basic information from the Forest Service.

          That mirrors the experience our organization had during the period immediately after the TSPIRS reports were cut by the Bush Administration when we attempted to gather basic information about the federal timber sale program. Basically, you got nothing, except through FOIA, and then the information was a garbled, jumbled mess.

          Of course, the apparent inability of the US Forest Service to provide even basic, apples-to-apples information about the federal timber sale program raises important questions about what other basic information the federal government, in this case the Forest Service, is basically keeping from the public, whether intentionally or not.

          • I think there are two things going on here:

            First internal FS information.. I think we all agree that there is a set of information that would be desirable to get that currently isn’t easily available to the public. We might disagree on the relative importance of different numbers, but they are all numbers the FS collects (except for maybe acres of vegetation treated).

            Second, wood as product information.. folks are assiduously gathering it, but perhaps there are annual reports that would be useful, if every state would provide their information.. not clear on exactly why we couldn’t get apples to apples, except that no one can force someone else to produce data if they are not collecting it or before they feel like producing it.


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