What are the hot-selling wood species, and what's driving demand? Timber industry experts share their views.

1 High-value domestic species such as cherry and maple are among the fastest moving in sales, notes Timbervest COO David Zell Jr, whose firm manages more than 600,000 acres of timberland, related assets and other investments.

According to Andy Johnson, Hardwood Publishing, early preferences from mill owners calls for more ash, aspen and cypress, and less red oak and hard maple.

Johnson also reports total exports for 2014 were up 13%, to 1.65 billion board feet, and up 26% in value, to $2.33 billion, both of which shattered previous records. Among the 12 most exported species, only hard maple shipped in smaller volumes last year compared to 2013.

2 U.S. lumber consumption increased approximately 6% last year, according to Hakan Ekstrom, Wood Resources Quarterly. Conversely, the group reported weakened demand in Japan and China, particularly in the second half of 2014.

While sawn lumber has recovered from its lows, it’s still being impacted by a recovering housing market, noted Zell. Hardwoods are used extensively in residential furnishings, such as cabinetry and furniture.

3 Pellet demand is softwood’s gain. According to Zell, pellets are one of the top drivers for softwood demand, particularly for export. The top pellet markets are Europe and Asia.

Globally, the softwood log trade reached an eight-year high in 2014, to approximately 85 million m3, according to estimates from Wood Resources Quarterly. China accounts for approximately 40% of the total world’s import for softwood logs.

Read more lumber supply trends at WoodworkingNetwork.com

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