Lumber and log exports from the West Coast rose about 20 percent last year, with demand peaking in the fourth quarter.
Most of the West Coast logs shipped overseas are going to China, although Japan has upped its demand, as well. With limited forestlands of their own, these countries rely on the United States’ timber supply.
Oregon and Washington are by far the West Coast’s biggest log and lumber exporters.
Xiaoping Zhou is a research economist with the Forest Service. She says lumber exports have continued to rise since 2007.
“But it all demands on the price of American lumber exports,” Zhou says.
The recession in the United States lowered the price of timber, and this made U.S. wood products more attractive to growing foreign markets.
But as the U.S. economy bounces back, timber prices could go up. And that, Zhou says, could prompt Asian countries to source more of their logs and lumber from other countries like Russia and Brazil.
Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting