The Oregon timber industry is made up of small and large companies and they are still in the process of totaling up their losses from the 2020 wildfire season. No one has a real number yet, but one thing is for certain, between timber, equipment and lost jobs the losses are going to be large . . . very large. One industry estimate is that the fires burned or damaged trees that might have produced 15 billion board feet of timber. Only a portion of that was in areas open to logging, but it is nearly four times what Oregon’s industry harvests each year. Wood products companies say they have two or perhaps three years to salvage trees impacted by the fires before rot, insect infestation and blowdown render them unusable. During that period, mills are likely to have a surplus of wood coming in, albeit black logs. That timber is generally worth 25% less than unburned logs and is more difficult to process. Longer term, say four to 10 years out, the question of supply looms larger. Rehabbing the land will begin just as soon as the burned timber is harvested and labor and seedlings become available, but the replanting is a multi-year process involving major outlays of cash, and harvesting on those trees are 40 – 50 + years away.
FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.
After the fires, timber industry faces ‘generational’ losses and longer-term supply questions - OregonLive