There may be light at the end of a long tunnel for Southern tree growers currently struggling under depressed timber markets resulting from the housing slump. A new assessment of the South’s forest resources expects timber demand to increase in the coming year, especially for lumber and building materials.
The study, an update of the landmark federal-state Southern Forest Resource Assessment published in 2002, expects timber supplies to be adequate for the expected increase in timber demand. But it raised questions about the long-term impact on Southern timber production resulting from the massive sell-off of millions of acres of industry-owned forest lands.
The new study was conducted by a three-person research team that included David N. Wear, a noted Southern forestry authority at the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, Research Triangle, N.C., who was a co-leader of the 2002 assessment. Other study authors were Douglas Carter of the University of Florida and Jeffrey Prestemon of the Southern Research Station.
The F&W Forestry Report fall edition contains one of — if not the first — media report on the new study and a commentary on the study’s findings by Marshall Thomas and William Miller, president and vice president respectively, of F&W Forestry Services, Inc. F&W, based in Albany, is a leading U.S. forestry management and consulting firm with operations in 13 Southern and Border states and South America. Thomas and Miller are recognized leaders in Southern forestry.
The study, “The U.S. South’s Timber Sector: A Prospective Analysis of Recent Change,” may be downloaded at www.srs.fs.usda.gov/sustain/report/update1.