SEATTLE -- Timber harvests in North America have increased up for four consecutive years, reaching 510 million metric tons, according to Wood Resources International.
Softwood harvests in the United States were up 3 percent in 2013, driven primarily by higher log exports to Asia and increased domestic lumber production. Higher manufacturing of hardwood lumber and of OSB were the main drivers of the increase in hardwood timber harvests last year.
In Canada timber harvests increased every year since 2009, reaching over 130 million metric tons in 2013 - almost 30 percent more than in 2009. A combination of higher log exports to China and increased demand for logs from the domestic lumber industry have been the major drivers for higher log demand the past few years.
Despite an annual increase of three percent over the past four years, harvest levels in North America are still lower than what they were before 2008. Ten years ago the total timber harvest in North America was about 40 percent higher than in 2013.
According to the report, demand for logs from the pulp sector, which consumed about 45 percent of the total timber harvest in 2013, fell as a result of lower pulp production and increased availability of residuals chips from the sawmilling sector.
End-uses for harvested timber in Canadian are quite different from those of the US with as much as 71 percent of the logs being consumed by the sawmilling sector and only 15 pecent by the pulp sector, WR said.
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