China's building boom boosts log exports

China's building boom boosts log exports

An increase in demand for western-style houses in China is boosting log exports from the Northwest, but not everyone in the industry considers that a good thing.

“It would be better to export processed wood products — lumber, plywood or pulp — than logs, thereby creating more domestic jobs and improving state and local economies,” wrote Gary Lettman, the chief economist for the Oregon Department of Forestry, in a report to the Oregon Legislature.

According to Lettman’s report, cutting one million board feet of timber creates roughly six jobs in forestry, logging and transportation. Lumber and plywood manufacturing create an additional three jobs per million board feet, while logs that go to exporters create fewer than one port job per million board feet.

But Lettmen also concluded that the log export market provides a crucial option for forest landowners when the demand for lumber in the U.S. drops. That means timberland remains profitable and isn’t sold to developers, and jobs are retained in the logging and forest management sectors.

Read more at OPB.