In The News

U.S. Could Double Canadian Tariffs

The U.S. Commerce Department concluded that the United States must double its tariff on Canadian softwood lumber, raising the figure from 9 percent to 18 percent. The increase is to combat alleged unfair Canadian trade practices, where lumber production is subsidized by the Canadian government.

Canadian softwood lumber accounts for more than 25 percent of all softwood lumber used in the U.S. construction sector, and doubling tariffs on imports would further compound the major increase in construction timber prices, which have risen astronomically since April 2020 and now sit at an all-time high.

However, the U.S. Lumber Coalition sees the proposition as a way to level the playing field, which is a critical element for continued investment and growth for the U.S. industry.

Federal Forest Assistance

The East Oregonian reported that U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said he will lobby the Biden administration to spend at least $1 billion more per year for logging, prescribed burning, and other work designed to make federal forests in Oregon and elsewhere less vulnerable to wildfires during a future when climate change is likely to heighten that threat.

Merkley said he hopes to push his campaign for more aggressive forest management from his position as chairman of the Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee, which he has held since February 2021.

Inmates in Arizona Assist with Forest Fire Prevention

With several fires already burning in 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and other state leaders are working to get more boots on the ground to prevent wildfires, thanks to a bill signed earlier this year.

The legislation created a partnership known as the Arizona Healthy Forest Alliance, linking the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management with the Department of Corrections.

700 inmates from prisons across the state will be working to remove thousands of acres of fire-prone vegetation, significantly reducing the size and severity of wildfires over the course of two years.

Demand for Timber Salvage in Western Oregon Remains High

The AFRC noted that a report published earlier this year by Forest Economic Advisors (FEA) and Mason, Bruce & Girard (MBJ) estimated that more than one billion board feet of privately managed timber was damaged by the 2020 wildfires in western Oregon. The report also estimated that more than seven billion board feet of federally managed timber was damaged.

In light of this extensive damage, industry appetite and capacity for absorbing fire-damaged timber was a consideration as the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) developed strategies for planning and prioritizing hazard tree removal and timber salvage. Meanwhile, public demand for wood products continues to rise.

That same FEA/MBJ report forecasts an average annual rise of 2.5 percent in demand for lumber over the next five years. If this forecast is accurate, demand for lumber will have reached a twenty year high by 2025.

Unfortunately, the federal salvage program in western Oregon has yet to fully materialize as public land managers navigate the cumbersome planning requirements that emphasize deliberation and caution over expediency and efficiency. However, early sale results are promising and should encourage the USFS and BLM to maximize their timber salvage offerings as soon as possible. Doing so will meet land management objectives, mitigate safety hazards, and meet public demand for wood products.

Since January, the USFS and BLM have offered and sold 20 sales consisting of fire-damaged trees, exclusively trees that pose a hazard to roads and recreation sites. Those 20 sales attracted 56 bids for an average of almost three bidders per sale. This competition has resulted in an average bid premium of approximately 80 percent and has generated nearly $20 million that can fund additional fire recovery efforts, land restoration projects, and county governments.

National Forest Volume (MMBF) Value
Willamette 11.6 $4,933,346
Umpqua 4.3 $1,510,234
Rogue River-Siskiyou 4.9 $2,335,754
BLM District Volume (MMBF) Value
Roseburg 0.5 $217,999
Northwest 22.5 $10,872,208

Total 43.8 $19,869,541

TimberWest November/December 2013
May/June 2021

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