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Polk timber harvest down slightly in 2012

POLK COUNTY -- The timber harvest roller coaster in Polk County continued in 2012, with the cut hitting a slight dip after strong improvement in 2011.

Recent logging activity is evident on hills between Pedee and Kings Valley in southern Polk County. The 2012 timber harvest was down slightly in the county from 2011.

Photo by Pete Strong

Recent logging activity is evident on hills between Pedee and Kings Valley in southern Polk County. The 2012 timber harvest was down slightly in the county from 2011.

July 17, 2013

POLK COUNTY -- The timber harvest roller coaster in Polk County continued in 2012, with the cut hitting a slight dip after strong improvement in 2011.

Harvests in the county decreased to 110.3 million board feet in 2012 from 114.7 in 2011, according to a Oregon Department of Forestry report released last week.

A board foot of lumber is 1 foot wide, 1 foot long and 1 inch thick, or the equivalent in volume.

Meanwhile, statewide, the harvest was up for a third consecutive year, reaching 3.75 billion board feet in 2012 from 3.65 billion in 2011. Harvests have increased steadily in the years since the recession began, up from a low of 2.75 billion in 2009.

"This was a 36 percent increase," said Brandon Kaetzel, the Oregon Department of Forestry's principal economist, "attributable during 2012 to a still strong export market and an improving domestic market."

Lane County continues to lead the state in annual cut, harvesting 590 million board feet, followed by Douglas County at 508 million board feet. Polk County's harvest ranked No. 12 among Western Oregon counties.

Tribal forestlands statewide saw the biggest jump in harvest -- 21 percent -- to 63 million board feet. Smaller increases were seen on private industrial and nonindustrial (family-owned forestlands) harvests. Private industrial harvests increased from 2.46 billion board feet to 2.56 billion, an increase of 4 percent. Nonindustrial private harvests jumped 14.3 percent, from 278 million board feet to 318 million. Tribal and private forest categories accounted for 78 percent of the state 2012 harvest.

Harvests on federal, state and county land, which accounts for the remainder of the harvest, decreased or stayed approximately the same in 2011 and 2012.

Polk County Timber Harvest 2008-12

Graphic by Pete Strong

Polk County Timber Harvest 2008-12

Kaetzel attributes some of the increase to favorable changes in the market.

"One reason for the large increase in private harvests may be that improving markets and demand in 2012 provided incentives for private owners to sell timber that they had held on to through the recession due to unfavorable prices," Kaetzel said.

Approximately 49 percent, or 30.2 million acres, of Oregon is forested, with the majority, 60 percent, under federal ownership.

Polk County 2012 timber harvest by the numbers:

* Industrial ownership -- 97.5 million board feet.

* Private ownership -- 9.6 million board feet.

* State ownership -- 2.698 million board feet.

* Bureau of Land Management (federal) -- .480 million board feet.

* Other public ownership -- 10,000 board feet.

* Total harvest -- 110.3 million board feet.