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Timber Harvests Increase Again in 2011

EUGENE, Ore. — After the collapse of the housing market in 2008, timber production fell right with it.

But harvests made a gain in 2010, and now the 2011 numbers mirror that.

Since bottoming out in 2009, harvests grew 32 percent.

Forest economists say the driving force of the increase is an export market to eastern Asia, especially China.

But they say the slow growth of the housing market and other markets also contributed to higher demand for Oregon wood.

“This is revenue to the states to the counties and in some forms this has increased revenue. Some mills we’ve been talking to have been adding shifts back on, you see a little bit more economic impact on jobs,” said Oregon Department of Forestry Principal Forest Economist Brandon Kaetzel.

Kaetzel adds that because domestic growth can’t compete with the export market, mills in Oregon have dipped into public land reserves, which has also helped.

He suspects that if demand continues, so will the timber numbers, especially in domestic markets.

Lane County steals the title of the most timber productive county in the state.

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