Since 2006, when market prices for pine sawtimber started to soften, the amount of timber harvested has decreased. Timberland owners adjusted their harvest schedules longer rotations with more second thinning regimes. This change has led to an accumulation of sawtimber in forests in the US South, and this in turn has led to the number of acres being regenerated dropping precipitously.
New data from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis group confirms these timber supply and demand trends. Based on the 2013 measurement cycle, the inventory of sawtimber has increased 3.2 percent annually since 2007, or 21 percent. Pine pulpwood inventory has also increased, though by less than half as much as sawtimber; since 2007, inventory in the pine pulpwood category has increased by 9 percent or 1.4 percent annually. This new data suggests that much of what we have heard about forest resources being under significant stress should be questioned.