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Oregon's timber harvest in 2009 hits historic lows
Oregon Department of Forestry News Release
Distribution: Major Media
August 26, 2010
Contact: Gary Lettman, 503-945-7408
A struggling economy, reflected in weak housing and nonresidential construction, drove Oregon’s 2009 timber harvest to historic lows. The harvest of 2.748 billion board feet is 20 percent lower than the already depressed 2008 harvest and the lowest since the Great Depression-level harvest of 2.622 billion board feet. Timber harvest information to-date for 2010 shows harvest levels slowly increasing, but a major recovery in harvests is not forecast until 2011 or beyond according to Oregon Department of Forestry economist Gary Lettman. “Oregon’s forest industry infrastructure, although much reduced in recent years, remains intact,” said Lettman. “There have been numerous recent temporary mill shutdowns, but few mills are being permanently shuttered.”
Most of the timber harvest decline was in western Oregon, declining from 3.079 billion board feet in 2008 to 2.403 billion board feet in 2009. Even though the eastern Oregon timber harvest volume has been decreasing every year since 2005, the decline in harvest is slowing. Eastern Oregon harvest volume had dropped 45 percent from 2004- 2008, but dropped only 5 percent from 2008-2009.
Douglas County jumped in front of Lane County as having the highest volume harvested during 2009, with 384 million board feet. Lane County, the top 2008 producer of timber volume, dropped 22 percent in 2009 to 338 million board feet. In western Oregon, Yamhill was the only county that harvested more timber in 2009 than in 2008, with an increase in harvest of 581 thousand board feet. Klamath County once again harvested the most timber in eastern Oregon, with a cut of 77 million board feet – a 14 percent increase from 2008.
Most timber harvested in Oregon comes from forest industry landowners and those harvests declined significantly in 2009, with the change between 2008 and 2009 representing the largest change in timber harvest by ownership class. Cutting 2.583 billion board feet in 2008, the forest industry accounted for 75 percent of Oregon’s total volume removed. In 2009, the forest industry’s volume harvested decreased by 597 million board feet, a 23 percent drop to 1.986 billion board feet. Most of this decline occurred in western Oregon, where 2009 forest industry harvests decreased in every county. Forest industry timber harvests in eastern Oregon decreased by only 6 percent. The forest industry harvested more timber in 2009 than in 2008 in Klamath, Jefferson, Morrow, and Wasco counties.
“Even in a struggling timber economy, Oregon’s Native American Tribes and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management were able to increase timber harvests in 2009,” Lettman said. Tribal timber harvests increased 13 percent for 2009 to a total of 65 million board feet. The Bureau of Land Management increased harvest from 2008 by 26 percent to a total of 147 million board feet, making 2009 that agency’s highest timber harvest since 1999.
For more information please contact Gary Lettman, Principal Forest Economist, at 503-945-7408 or glettman@odf.state.or.us
This information and more is available in the recently released Oregon Department of Forestry 2009 Annual Timber Harvest Report – a compilation of statewide data pertaining to timber harvests.
The 2009 report, as well as previous years’ annual reports, is available online on the department’s website at www.oregon.gov/ODF/STATE_FORESTS/FRP/annual_Reports.shtml.