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Oregon's timber harvests continue to plummet
Distribution:  Major Media
July 8, 2008
Contact: Gary Lettman, 503-945-7408
Oregon’s timber harvests continued their decline since 2004 with 3.80 billion board feet being harvested in 2007, representing a 12 percent decrease from the 2006 harvest volume of 4.33 billion board feet. This is the smallest Oregon timber harvest since the recession-based record low recorded in 2001.
“However, with relatively strong plywood demand and nonresidential construction, and fewer log imports from adjacent states, Oregon timber harvests declined less than half of the percentage drop in national housing starts,” said Gary Lettman, forest economist with the Oregon Department of Forestry.
The reduction in timber harvest volumes came from declining harvests from private forestland owners. An 11 percent, or 344 million board feet, decrease in volume from forest industry land owners was accompanied by a 43 percent decline in harvests on non-industrial private lands, which declined from 422 million board feet in 2006 to 240 million board feet in 2007. Federal harvests remained at historically low levels, accounting for less than 10 percent of the cut.
Timber harvests were down in both western Oregon and eastern Oregon. Harvests in all of western Oregon declined 11 percent from 2006 levels, driven primarily by the 44 percent decrease on non-industrial private lands, from 351 million board feet to 198 million board feet. 
Rural communities in eastern Oregon continue to lose raw materials for their 10 remaining sawmills as timber harvesting continues to become increasingly concentrated in the western part of the state. Since 1991, the percentage of timber harvests that have come from eastern Oregon has declined from 31 percent in 1991 to 11 percent in 2007. In eastern Oregon, much of the 23 percent overall harvest decrease can be attributed to a 97 million board feet harvest reduction in by forest industry landowners.
Lane County continues to lead Oregon’s counties in harvesting, despite decreasing by 15 percent to 504 million board feet in 2007. Douglas County was second with 479 million board feet, while Clatsop and Coos were third and fourth with 338 and 303 million board feet respectively. 
Overall, harvests decreased in all western Oregon counties except for Curry, Hood River, Linn, and Yamhill, resulting in the 11 percent decline in that region.
In eastern Oregon, harvest levels diminished in all counties as well, with the exception of Crook and Harney. Despite a 30 percent reduction in harvest volume from 2006, Klamath County continues to harvest the most timber in eastern Oregon with 107 million board feet in 2007.
This information and more is available in the recently-released Oregon Department of Forestry 2007 Annual Timber Harvest Report – a compilation of data relating to timber harvesting and other forest practices in Oregon.
The 2007 report, as well as previous annual reports, is available online on the department’s website at www.oregon.gov/ODF/STATE_FORESTS/FRP/annual_Reports.shtml
Gary Lettman, glettman@odf.state.or.us, is available to answer any content-related questions.