Oregon Timber Harvest Decreases in 2015

After two years at slightly above four billion board feet, Oregon’s timber harvest dropped below that in 2015 to a number on par with the 2012 harvest, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s annual timber harvest report, issued this week. From 2014 to 2015 there was an approximate decrease in harvest of eight percent for a 2015 total of 3.79 billion board feet harvested. Decreases occurred across all ownerships except for state-owned forestlands.
Approximately 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 three percent, and all other forestland owners (counties, Tribal, etc.), three percent.
The Bureau of Land Management recorded a decline of eight percent from 2014 to 2015. Likewise, the US Forest Service experienced an overall statewide decrease of five percent, from 386 million board feet to 367. However, the USFS saw an increase of approximately 14 percent on Oregon’s east side, notably in Grant and Harney counties where stewardship contracting work is underway on the Malheur National Forest – the second consecutive year of increases in locations where these collaborative agreements are in place. These east-side harvest levels were offset, however, by the decrease in harvest on national forests in western Oregon.
State forestlands increased from 230 million board feet in 2014 to 290 million board feet in 2015, for an overall 26 percent increase in timber harvest.
Private Industry harvest decreased statewide by ten percent from 2014 to 2015 to 2.36 billion board feet. These decreases were present on both sides of the Cascades, but were most prominent on the west side, as a percentage, where private industry harvest declined by approximately nine percent. Non-industrial private landowners had an approximate 19 percent decrease in harvest, statewide, for a 2015 total of 453 million board feet.
Harvests on Native American forestlands decreased approximately nine percent from 57 million board feet in 2015 to 52 million board feet in 2015.
The decrease in timber harvest was largely driven by the slowdown in exports to Asia. Along with the decrease in log exports, the expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement in the fourth quarter led to an increase in imports of lumber from Canada, affecting demand for Oregon logs. Finally, an active fire season, along with a wet and warmer than usual winter, created issues for logging and hauling.
The 2015 Oregon Timber Harvest Report is available online at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Pages/Reports.aspx. (Go to the subsection for “Datasets” and select “Oregon Timber Harvest Data”.)
NOTE: One board foot of lumber is one foot wide, one foot long, and one inch thick, or the equivalent in volume. Construction of an approximately 1,800 square foot house requires about 10,000 board feet.