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Trees Harvested By Product In The United States - 1956 to 2001

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Harvested Timber Trends, Latest RPA Assessment
Trees Harvested By Product In The United States - 1956 to 2001
It is probably not too hard to agree that timber harvests in the United States have remained stable since 1986 after a 13 percent rise from 1976 to 1986 when studying this United States Forest Service graphic. The latest volume estimate of tree removals, what the United States Forest Service calls growing-stock removals, has approached but leveled out just below 14 billion cubic feet annually since 1986.

Data collected in a 2002 federal Resource Planning Act (RPA) report indicates that about 64 percent of the volume of timber removals was softwoods (conifers) and 36 percent was hardwoods, compared with 69 and 31 percent, respectively, in 1986. We are a nation with a passion for, and an exporter of, pine and fir based forest products.

According to the RPA report, the southern United States accounted for 63 percent of growing-stock removals in 2001, up from 51 percent in 1986. This continued increase in the total share of wood produced in the South is probably a function of a private forest ownership that enjoys fewer harvesting restrictions, and a near perfect tree-growing climate.

The prominent use of harvested growing stock continues to be for lumber and plywood manufactured predominantly from saw logs and veneer logs (see graph). Saw logs accounted for 49 percent of growing-stock volume harvested in 2001, veneer logs—9 percent, and pulpwood/paper- 35 percent. The remaining 7 percent was used for fuelwood and other products. Still, pulp and composite product demand continues to rise, increasing by 25 percent since 1986.

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