Court Bans Raw Log Imports

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Tue Jun 24 23:10:52 EST 1997

In article <33AE44A2.72D0 at>,
Joseph Zorzin <redoak at> wrote:

> So what happened to the principle of "supply and demand"? Haven't
> stumpage prices risen? If so, why hasn't that brought more timber into
> the market from private land? Or is it just that Siberian logs are so
> cheap?

Certainly private harvest has increased.  However, unlike the east, the
west is primarily owned by the federal government.  Over two thirds of
the state of Oregon is public land, with only one third in private holdings.
That one third is incapable of providing adequate timber for the domestic
market, particularly since only a small fraction of private land is
timbered.  Most private land in the state is either urban or farm ground.

With the disarray in management of federal forests, mills have scrambled
to locate any source of logs they can, including importing from Siberia
and South America.  Logs are cheap to ship, since the cost of a barge
and a tug is about all you need, and Coos Bay, Oregon is the largest
deepwater port on the West Coast.  Coos Bay also has several mills.
Just barge the pine across the Bering Strait and down the coast, and
you're in business.

It really is a survival issue for many mills.  Government timber is
erratic at best, and private timber is getting harder and harder to find.
Even if the feds converted to true stustained-yield management, it would
be 20 or 30 years before timber supplies stabilized.  This is just too
long for a mill to wait.

-- Larry

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