Timber industry experts have long been calling for an explosion in the southeast in the wood and timber industry, but it has yet to come to fruition. While Tom Inman, president of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, labels 2015’s timber industry as “a healthy one based on 2015 standards,” a number of factors have come together to make 2015 a weak year for everyone in the timber industry—including North Carolina.
While the timber industry is slowly recovering from the Great Recession that started in 2008, it has a long way to go. Based on U.S. Forest Service numbers, there have been 22,326,000 cubic feet of Nantahala/Pisgah Timber sold in 2015, over 1,000,000 cubic feet less than last year.
Area timber experts maintain there are a number of reasons for the slump in North Carolina’s timber industry this year. For one, prices have fallen upwards of 30 percent for many different grades of wood over early 2015 prices. Demand from domestic U.S. markets for hardwood flooring and foreign markets like China and Canada have dropped. Heavy rains have also kept loggers out of North Carolina forests for the last few months.
However, the outlook for the future is bright, according to North Carolina timber reports. For one, the housing industry continues to improve, and the timber industry usually follows. Furthermore, Inman maintains that less than one percent of the area’s merchantable trees are being used, meaning the resource will be available for years to come.
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