Forest Service Pledges Largest Timber Harvest in 20 Years

Filed in Advocacy by on June 6, 2018 14 Comments

Isoftwood lumbern a victory for NAHB, Interim Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen told Congress yesterday that the Forest Service expects its 2018 timber harvest will be the biggest in 20 years.

NAHB has been leading the charge to urge Congress and the Trump administration to consider ways to increase the domestic supply of timber of public lands.

These efforts are especially critical, given that the Commerce Department has placed tariffs averaging more than 20% on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. and that the U.S. relies on Canada to meet roughly one-third of its lumber needs.

Since January of last year, rising lumber prices have increased the cost of an average single-family home by nearly $9,000. Much of these unprecedented price hikes are due to the lumber tariffs.

Testifying yesterday before Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Christiansen said: “Our anticipated level of timber harvest in fiscal 2018 is the highest it’s been in 20 years. In all, this year the Forest Service plans to sell 3.4 billion board feet of timber while improving the resiliency and health of more than 3 million acres of National Forest System lands through removal of hazardous fuels and stand treatments.”

Christiansen said a major reason why timber harvests are on a pace to run 30% ahead of last year’s levels is because of expanded forest management authority in the 2018 omnibus spending bill passed into law last December.

NAHB strongly supported these provisions in the omnibus bill and continues to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber imports into the U.S. at a competitive price.

On June 7, Christiansen was questioned by Rep. Raul Labrador (R.-Idaho) during a House Subcommittee on Federal Lands meeting, who wanted to know whether harvesting more wood could both decrease the fire risk in federal forests and supply much-needed wood. “How can you ensure that the industries that rely heavily on wood products have the resources they need at an affordable price?”

You can help make a difference: Click on this link to ask your federal lawmaker to sign a letter urging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reach a new softwood lumber trade agreement with Canada.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Stephen Davis says:

    Thanks, this is good news for the people

  2. I’m still looking for accurate information on the causes of lumber price increases. If the tariff added 25% to only 1/3 of the nations lumber supply, then why are lumber costs 50% more than a year ago? According to this article, lumber price increases have added $9,000 to the cost of an average new home. That’s almost $4 / sq. ft. or about 50%. The reason given in this article for the price increase is the tariff.

    I find all of these claims very hard to believe and will not contact my congressman until I have accurate information to make my case.

  3. Joseph F. LaFave says:

    Its nice to see the timber grown in the United States is being utilized here as well and the fact our loggers are now fully employed . Personally I sold a stand of timber on some of my private land to help out the cause recently and trust other land owners are doing the same, at least they should be.

    I do agree with Barry Hensley, why has it gone up 50% we builders are getting gouged once again. I’m a 30 plus year veteran builder originally from Upper Michigan but have been building in 3 states, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Dakota. We builders just came off a 10 year dry spell which started in 2008, why is it we builders cant catch a break and get some product in the ground a couple years before sky rocketing lumber prices and higher interest rates raise there ugly heads. Happens every time things start to look up.

    When Alan Greenspan was in charge, seemed like everytime we had a glimmer of hope he would talk about or actually raise the interest rates before the potential up side could get some legs under us builders.

    I believe the current Trump administration actually is gonna try give us a few good years before pulling the rug out from under us in the form of higher interest rates.

    My son is a congressman!

  4. Russell W Adams says:

    As long as the US Government sells the timber stands at market price to allow for cost of proper replanting and future management and we have enough USFS peronnel to monitor overcutting I think this is great. If we are are allowing government subsidized logging at the expense of future generations then we need to rethink the current harvest process.

  5. Andrew Ross MacKenzie says:

    Why are they calling it public lands?. We the public have no say in what happens to OUR natural resources.

    I live on the foothills of the north Cascades mountain range. ALL of the beautiful forests foothills near here are considered DNR and are stripped clean and destroyed by logging. This is not a small hill being logged off,… these are VAST areas of massive foothills. If you could see what I see happening to our pristine forests and the wildlife that lives here you would be sick to your stomach. These lands are leased by private “forestry Managenment” companies most not even local companies. Where does that money go?… not to us.
    I encourage anyone to take a walk into the forest until you reach the areas being “Cultivated”. When you see the TOTAL devastation of nature of vast regions of beautiful forests bulldosed and ripped to schreds you too will want to make it stop!
    Its time to respect the lands and resources we have the privilege to live on and with.
    Is so called progress really worth the destruction of our forests, lakes, streams, wildlife? really?…..

    They do not belong to us. WE belong to them.


    • Mike Nykreim says:

      I’ve climbed the mountains of the North Cascades. Every trail head is at the end of a logging road! if it wasn’t for the logging roads, we would have no access! i earned my first year’s tuition at the University of Washington, harvesting timber in the Olympic National Forrest, in 1972. Maybe now our future college students can pay for their education working in the woods rather then going into devastating debt.

      BTW- ALL the trees i felled have grown back! And i graduated, debt free….

    • Both the United States and Canada have excellent Forestry Management Practices. You may live in an area with active logging and may have the feeling that our forests are being devastated, but that just ins’t the case. Thanks to very good forestry management policies, we have a greater abundance of trees than we had in the 40’s.

  6. Norm Hyman says:

    There is no good reason to delay reduction or elimination of tariff on Canadian lumber. The tariff is an unreasonable impediment to affordable housing.

  7. Eric Vater says:

    As a small builder, and relatively new to the industry, I can’t believe how quickly lumber has rose. My local lumber yard has said that the cost increases are also due to other factors such as flooding in the South, wildfires in the West, etc. Are they right? These articles do make it sound like tariffs are the only problem we are facing. I believe some of it is no different that gas prices. Typical stock markets reacting to the “possibility” of increases and tariffs before they actually take effect and the rise in costs end up much higher than the actual tariffs imposed. I’ve been framing for nearly 20 years, but only as a GC for about the last five. I do mostly custom homes. Typical lumber packages that cost around $30,000 are now over $45,000 in just a couple years. It’s nuts!

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