Skip to comments.Report shows shifts in wood product business
Posted on 08/28/2004 10:10:16 PM PDT by farmfriend
Report shows shifts in wood product business By John Driscoll The Times-Standard
Thursday, August 26, 2004 -
Despite a five-decade downward trend, a U.S. Forest Service and University of Montana report has found the future may be promising for the remaining California wood products industry.
The amount of timber harvested in California in 2001 was less than two-thirds the average in the past 20 years. But the shifting industry still had some $2.3 billion in sales in 2000, according to the report by University of Montana Business Administration School research professor Charles Keegan.
Humboldt County harvested some 435 million board feet in 2000, eclipsing the second most productive county, Siskiyou, which logged 210 million board feet, and making for nearly 20 percent of the timber cut in California that year. Redwood accounted for half of Humboldt's harvest.
Still, forest growth at least doubled what was logged in every area of the state -- even when trees smaller than 10 inches in diameter were disregarded.
That's partly because timber harvesting on national forest lands plunged precipitously beginning in the late 1980s with the protection of the northern spotted owl and the adoption of the Northwest Forest Plan, Keegan said. But far more timber is growing on private forest lands as well, he said.
While national forests still make up the vast majority of standing timber in the state, only 15 percent of the state's timber harvest came from those lands. Private industry holds 17 percent of California's standing timber, and cuts 48 percent of the timber in California. Nonindustrial lands account for 18 percent of the standing volume and 36 percent of the state's cut timber.
The near-elimination of the federal timber program in the state was behind the big drop in the number of sawmills in the state, Keegan said. There were only 47 sawmills in California in 2000, down from 695 in 1956 and 216 in 1968, though the trend has been toward larger, more efficient mills. The number of veneer and plywood mills and pulp and board mills also have gone down.
"When we look at capacity, we see a very large decline in the past 15 years," Keegan said.
The amount of timber imported into the state has climbed, and significantly exceeds the amount of timber cut in the state.
Yet the report found that more than 112,700 workers are employed in the industry, and make some $4.5 billion annually. Keegan said this is due to a geographic shift in wood products industry jobs.
Jobs in Northern California sawmills have declined 40 percent since the 1980s, when 40,000 were employed. But remanufacturing lumber into furniture, trusses and cabinets have swelled employment in other areas of California.
Those jobs tend to be in areas with large populations, allowing manufacturers to cut shipping costs by serving customers more directly, Keegan said.
In 1970, 27 percent of Humboldt County's labor income came from the forest products industry. That fell to 13 percent in 2000, the latest year reviewed in the report, and has likely fallen even more since then with the closure of some Pacific Lumber Co. and Eel River Sawmills mills.
"(Humboldt County) has experienced one of the region's slowest growth rates for the past three decades," the report reads, "perhaps indicating the negative influence of a loss of over $100 million in forest industry labor income."
Business leaders consulted for the report said there is promise for the forest products industry, mainly because of improved markets. As always, they continued to express concern over energy costs -- which hammered the industry during the state energy crisis -- logging regulations and timber availability.
"If overseas markets improve, the demand should get even better," said Neal Ewald, vice president of Green Diamond Resource Co., formerly called Simpson Resource Co.
He said current prices for Douglas fir are among the highest he can remember, and despite lumber coming in from other countries, mainly Canada, demand is still pushing the lumber market up.
Most businesses expect to receive higher prices for their products in the future, but will also pay more to log their timber and for labor, and particle board mills will pay more for resins because of the rising price of oil.
Ewald said rising costs remain a concern. He cited a California Forestry Association study done this year that found California landowners spend $60 per 1,000 board feet in the state permitting process. In Oregon, landowners spend only $3 per 1,000 board feet, and in Washington only $8.
Looking forward, Keegan said he believes the extreme volatility of the lumber market seen over the past 15 years is likely to level out. That's because adjustments to the globalization of the industry, the huge changes in forest land management and inventory management have for the most part already occurred.
That said, Keegan said the business will remain cyclical -- as it always has been.
I know of 4 saw mills that have closed here in Humboldt county since 2000. With no timber coming off the National Forests the small mills were squeezed out and the large mills can charge more for their product...
So do environmentalists possess a brain? Not a particularly useful one. Here is why I say that: In their worldview, cutting trees is evil! So, how is the typical environmentalist supposed to get wood to get their chopsticks which they will use to eat in that fashionably liberal Thai restaurant? After all, using wood is evil, you know. So, what is left? Well, howsabout plastic! Of course, plastic chopsticks are reusable, that should be good for the environment, right? Ooh, but wait. Plastic is made from oil. Big oil. Haliburton. Bush. So no, no worthwhile environmentalist would dare use bigoted, hateful, dumb oil-based chopsticks. Okay, so now what? Aluminum, yeah, that will do. Recyclable and everything. Oh wait, somebody somewhere showed me a fax of an e-mail of an article on the internet that claims that aluminum cookware eats your brain. No, can't use that. Aha! Ivory! Ivory makes positively exquisite chopsticks! Uh, ivory comes from where? Elephants? Uh, I hear the phone ringing. It's somebody from ALF. They are calling me all sorts of obscenities. I guess ivory is out. So, well, can't use wood because that kills the old growth forests. Can't use oil because oil is Republican evil. Can't use ivory. What about glass? Well, that might be a possibility. How much electricity does it take to melt glass in a furnace? Where does the silica for glass come from. The beach! Oh the pristine beaches of Mother Earth! Well, maybe I can dig a used pair of chopsticks out of the trash and carefully wash them off...
Here is the latest from the whitehouse on federal lands.
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 26, 2004
Executive Order Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws
of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The purpose of this order is to ensure that the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency implement laws relating to the environment
and natural resources in a manner that promotes cooperative conservation, with an emphasis on appropriate inclusion of local participation in Federal decisionmaking, in accordance with their respective agency missions,
policies, and regulations.
Sec. 2. Definition. As used in this order, the term "cooperative conservation" means actions that relate to use, enhancement, and enjoyment of natural resources, protection of the environment, or both, and that
involve collaborative activity among Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, other nongovernmental entities and individuals.
Sec. 3. Federal Activities. To carry out the purpose of this order, the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall, to the extent
permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations and in coordination with each other as appropriate:
(a) carry out the programs, projects, and activities of the agency that they respectively head that implement laws relating to the environment and natural resources in a manner that:
(i) facilitates cooperative conservation;
(ii) takes appropriate account of and respects the interests of persons with ownership or other legally recognized interests in land and other natural
(iii) properly accommodates local participation in Federal decisionmaking; and
(iv) provides that the programs, projects, and activities are consistent with protecting public health and safety;
(b) report annually to the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality on actions taken to implement this order; and
(c) provide funding to the Office of Environmental Quality Management Fund(42 U.S.C. 4375) for the Conference for which section 4 of this order
Sec. 4. White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation. The Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations:
(a) convene not later than 1 year after the date of this order, and thereafter at such times as the Chairman deems appropriate, a White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation (Conference) to facilitate the
exchange of information and advice relating to (i) cooperative conservation and (ii) means for achievement of the purpose of this order; and
(b) ensure that the Conference obtains information in a manner that seeks from Conference participants their individual advice and does not involve collective judgment or consensus advice or deliberation.
Sec. 5. General Provision. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments,
agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers, employees or agents,
or any other person.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
August 26, 2004.
Siskiyou is the second largest timber producer after Humboldt. Yet, our last saw mill closed. We now only have a molding and a plywood mill. Saw logs have to go to Oregon to be milled.
In my ranger district, nothing is coming off the National Forest. The environmentalists have appealed and sued on everything. There have been one or two fuel reduction projects on adjacent ranger districts.
Most of the logging is now done on the east side or south county where there are fewer endangered species (out of Northwest Forest Plan territory.)
The most salient point is the relative cost of regulation in California, vs. Oregon and Washington. This is typical of the regulatory burden imposed on California natural resources businesses. Wish the Gov. would wake up to that fact.
Thanks for sending me this. This report does nor show the impact of the salmon regs that were put into effect in 2000. Things are much worse then this report shows. It also fails to point out that 3 or 4 companies own ¾ of the mills still in operation.
Purely symbolic. Reagan passed an EO in the 1980's prohibiting Federal actions that resulted in a take of private property...it is ignored by the bureau-nazis. The same thing will happen with this EO.
Cooperative Conservation is a method used to implement the Wildlands Project. That the whitehouse would write an EO encouraging this technique is just plain wrong, and its not the way the government is designed to work.
A few weeks ago we learned that Santa Cruz County had my Dad's timber property on a list of 24 under consideration for a new county dump. Today's paper indicated that it has been dropped from consideration, thankfully. As near as I can tell, one of the first critera was parcel size. That limit assured that many of the parcels were TPZ (not too surprizing). The question of the day is this: Does the Forest Practices Act protect the land from County action?
I believe the Act was enacted to protect timberlands from non productive uses such a development, etc. However, if the county pulls eminent domain and takes it, who would win, the forest or the County?
Cooperative Conservation Wildlands Project Efforts in the Sierra Madre Occidental
McDonell noted he hoped the agreement would help protect additional land in the future. "We have now demonstrated a model for cooperative conservation on private lands in Mexico," he said. "We have also demonstrated the effectiveness of conservation groups that protect nature across political boundaries," McDonell added.
--The Wildlands Project (TWP) Interim Director, Allan McDonell
On September 17th, Interior Secretary Norton announced $12.9 million in federal grants that will go towards over 250 conservation projects in 40 states and Puerto Rico. The grants, administered through the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will help fund conservation projects on more than 50,000 acres under the Cooperative Conservation Initiative (CCI). The funded projects range from restoring wetlands prairie habitat in Oregon to modifying sheep fences in Colorado for better pronghorn antelope migration. More than 700 partners leveraged $22 million in matching funds for these projects.
First funded in FY 2003, the Cooperative Conservation Initiative is an innovative program designed to strengthen conservation through partnerships and citizen involvement in the stewardship of America's national parks, public lands and wildlife. CCI was designed to remove barriers to citizen participation in the stewardship of the countryâs natural resources and to help them take conservation into their own hands by undertaking projects at the local level.
For more information, please see a state-by-state breakout of the grants awarded.
The Wildlands Project is a long-range plan to depopulate up to 70 percent of the land area of the United States and turn it into wilderness.
One of the authors of this plan is Karl Hess, an extreme preservationist best known for attacking legislation to compensate land owners when the Endangered Species Act eliminates use of their property. He is, regrettably, on the Interior Department payroll as a top aide to both Interior Budget Director Lynn Scarlett and Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Scarlett and Norton proposed to create a Cooperative Conservation Initiative (CCI), funded at $50 million, to be handed over to Karl Hess to distribute to environmental activist organizations.
--JOHN FULTON LEWIS
End run around the people, the President signed an executive order to make this happen, even though the people claimed victory 2 years ago.
The Wildlands Project is a plan to - no joke here, this is completely serious - a plan to depopulate up to seventy percent of the land area of the United States and turn it into wilderness. This Master Plan of the environmental movements most extreme elements was dealt a severe blow this week also.
One of the authors of this kooky plan is Mr. Karl Hess, an extreme preservationist best known for attacking - for fighting against - legislation to compensate land owners when the Endangered Species Act eliminates use of their property.
He is, incredibly - again, no joke here - actually on the Interior Department payroll as a top aide to BOTH Interior Budget Director Lynn Scarlett AND Interior Secretary Gale Norton!!!
Scarlett and Norton proposed to create something called the Cooperative Conservation Initiative (CCI), fund it at $50 million, and hand over the money to Karl Hess for him to distribute to his enviro buddies. You know the story - discover an endangered species, then give the land owner an offer he cant refuse involving severe restrictions of use of property.
The CCI proposal has been ZEROED OUT in both the House and Senate versions of the Interior Department budget, and has virtually no chance of becoming law. VICTORY!!!
The central planners