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Exports And Housing Starts Spark Increased Timber Harvest

Last year’s resurgent economy cleared the way for Oregon loggers to cut more timber than they have since 2006, according to state figures released Tuesday.

Logs piled at the Douglas County Forest Products mill near Winchester.

Logs piled at the Douglas County Forest Products mill near Winchester.

Michael Clapp/OPB

State foresters say the timber harvest was more than 4 billion board feet last year. It was the biggest harvest since 2006.

Brandon Kaetzel is a timber economist at the Oregon Department of Forestry. He says logging has increased steadily over the last five years, because of a strong demand on two fronts.

“One domestic demand, now that the recession is over, we’re starting to see a tick-up in housing starts in the United States again. The other big factor is we’ve had a really good export market for private timber,” he explained.

Kaetzel says harvests were up on Oregon’s west side federal lands, too, though not as much as in private forests.

Kaetzel says market conditions appear to be slowing, suggesting harvest figures for 2014 may stabilize, or come down.

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