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Spotlight on Northeast and Appalachian Hardwood Log and Lumber Exports

Posted by Hannah Jefferies on January 4, 2017

In a previous analysis, we analyzed trends in hardwood and conifer log and lumber exports to China versus other countries. This post continues that analysis by focusing on hardwood logs and lumber exported from the Northeast US and, in particular, the four important Appalachian hardwood states of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

 

 

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Figure 1: Hardwood Logging in Central West Virginia, c. 2010

 

Hardwood Log Exports

Table 1 shows hardwood log exports to China broken down by total US, the Northeast[i] and the Appalachian states. It shows the percentage of total US exports delivered from the Northeast and the percentages of Northeast and US exports delivered from the Appalachian states. Table 2 shows the same data but for hardwood log exports sent to other countries.

US hardwood log exports to China have increased 293 percent between 2005 and 2016[ii] (Table 1). While this is a sizable increase, Northeastern and Appalachian hardwood log exports to China increased even more dramatically at 511 percent and 554 percent, respectively, over the same period. Northeastern hardwood log exports have represented over half of US hardwood log exports to China since 2015. On average, exports from the four Appalachian states represented 81 percent of Northeastern and 26 percent of total US hardwood log exports to China (Figure 2).

 

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Table 1: Hardwood Log Exports to China

 

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Figure 2: Appalachian Hardwood Log Exports to China

 

While hardwood log exports to China have increased dramatically, hardwood log exports to other countries have declined at about the same rate (34-37 percent) from each of these three areas (Table 2). On average, Northeastern exports were 34 percent of total US hardwood log exports to other countries. Appalachian exports were 84 percent of Northeastern exports and 29 percent of US hardwood log exports to other countries (Figure 3).

 

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Table 2: Hardwood Log Exports to Other Countries

 

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Figure 3: Appalachian Hardwood Log Exports to Other Countries

 

Hardwood Lumber Exports

Hardwood lumber exports to China have increased at an even greater rate than have hardwood log exports since 2005 (Table 3). Total US hardwood lumber exports to China increased 339 percent. Northeastern hardwood lumber exports to China increased 582 percent, and Appalachian hardwood lumber exports to China increased a whopping 677 percent. Most of the Appalachian increase occurred after the Great Recession, and was driven by sawmill closures and landowners seeking new markets for their timber at the same time that China’s economy was experiencing significant growth (Figure 4). On average, Northeastern exports were 30 percent of US hardwood lumber exports to China. Appalachian exports averaged 90 percent of Northeastern and 27 percent of US hardwood lumber exports to China.

 

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Table 3: Hardwood Lumber Exports to China

 

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Figure 4: Appalachian Hardwood Lumber Exports to China

 

While hardwood lumber exports to China have increased dramatically, hardwood lumber exports to other countries are falling (Table 4). Since 2005, US hardwood lumber exports to other countries fell 10 percent while Northeastern and Appalachian hardwood lumber exports to other countries fell 38 and 29 percent, respectively. Northeast exports have averaged 29 percent of US hardwood lumber exports since 2009, and this share has been declining since 2011. Appalachian exports have averaged 89 percent of Northeastern and 26 percent of US hardwood lumber exports (Figure 5). Appalachian hardwood represents a smaller share of US hardwood lumber exports than it did prior to 2011.

 

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Table 4: Hardwood Lumber Exports to Other Countries

 

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Figure 5: Appalachian Hardwood Lumber Exports to Other Countries

 

Conclusions:

  • Hardwood log and lumber exports to China have increased dramatically since 2005.
  • On average since 2005, hardwood log exports from the Northeast have accounted for 33 percent of hardwood log exports to China and 34 percent of hardwood log exports to other countries.
  • Hardwood lumber exports from the Northeast accounted for 30 percent of hardwood lumber exports to China and 29 percent to other countries.
  • Northeastern—and especially Appalachian—(NY, OH, PA, WV) hardwood exports have increased more significantly and at a faster rate than US hardwood exports.
  • Four Appalachian states—New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—account for 80-90 percent of all hardwood log and lumber exports from the Northeast, regardless of destination country.
  • Appalachian states have accounted for an average 26 percent of US hardwood log exports to China and 29 percent to other countries since 2005.
  • These same four states have accounted for 27 percent of hardwood lumber exports to China and 26 percent of hardwood lumber exports to other countries.
  • An increasing percentage of US hardwood log and lumber exports to China are originating from these four states.

 

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Figure 6: Productive Hardwood Timberland in Central West Virginia, c. 2010

 

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[i] For this analysis, the Northeast includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

[ii] Annualized based on 2016 data through September.

Topics: hardwood log and lumber exports

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