West coast log, lumber exports increased over forty percent in 2011

Feb 21, 2012
This table shows West coast log and lumber exports in 2011 by country (million board feet). Credit: Xiaoping Zhou

Log and lumber exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska increased 42 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, totaling 1,992 and 1,015 million board feet according to the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station. Oregon and Washington are again the largest log exporter in the U.S. since 2000.

"The total value of exported logs from west coast in 2011 increased by 54 percent, from $844 million to $1,297 million," said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who compiled the data. "The total value of exported lumber increased by 35 percent: from $509 million in 2010, to $687 million in 2011."

This figure shows the west coast log export distribution (percent). Credit: Xiaoping Zhou.

Zhou compiled the statistics from the U.S. International Trade Commission and from Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, a station publication that provides current information on the region's lumber and plywood production prices as well as employment in forest industries. The report is available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/38431.

About 83 percent of the west coast's log exports and 87 percent of its lumber exports came through ports in Oregon and Washington. Ninety-nine percent of the total log export was softwood, and 86 percent of the total lumber export was softwood lumber.

This figure illustrates the west coast lumber export distribution (percent) in 2011. Credit: Xiaoping Zhou

Other highlights:

  • China now imports the most logs and lumber from the west coast and the U.S.; more than any other country in the world.
  • Log exports to China totaled 46 percent of all U.S. log exports in 2011 (figure 1a), and the total lumber export to China was 30 percent of the total U.S. lumber exports (figure 1b).
  • Log and lumber exports to China from the west coast decreased significantly in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter in 2011 (down 35 percent for log and 12 percent for lumber).
  • Total log exports to China from the west coast were 1,223 million board feet (or 61percent) in 2011. The total lumber exports to comprise about 44 percent of the total lumber exports in 2011 (table 2)

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