Futures?

Ron Wenrich woodtick at lebmofo.com
Mon Aug 31 18:21:19 EST 1998



Joseph Zorzin wrote:

> > I'd also expect that some silvicultural decisions might be made after
> > consideration of market trends.
>
> No. Well, it depends on exactly what you mean. If you have 50 acres of
> good hardwoods and 50 acres of pine and the pine market is dead as door
> nail, then of course you just don't mark the pine for sale. When species
> are all mixed up- you mark the stand based on good silviculture. If you
> have a few poplars in there and poplar has zero stumpage value, you
> don't leave them for the next rotation- you get rid of them. Once again,
> there is no fixed rule on this. And much of the time a forester just
> can't really know what's going on out there in the market because around
> here there is no single market. One logger might be sending his stuff to
> 1 mill for a certain price, another logger next door is sending his
> stuff to another place and getting 25% more money. There are many
> species, many markets, many unknowns. What the landowner wants is also
> important in silviculture. If the landowner wants a heavy cut, you give
> them a heavy cut, or a light cut. This job is 5% science, 50% art, and
> 45% politics. They only teach you the science part in forestry school.

I agree with all you said with the exception of this point on silviculture and
markets.  This is why it is important for foresters to understand market trends,
especially in hardwoods.  25 yrs ago, you couldn't give red oak away.  Tulip
poplar, maple and birch was where the market was at.  Then the "boomers" started to
build houses.  They were more interested in not doing anything like their parents,
so they turned to oak (which was preferred by their grandparents).  GenXers will be
going back to maple and birch.  In fact, upscale houses are now using hard maple
for flooring (although I prefer cherry).

Taken to silviculture, if you are managing for oak to mature in the next 10-20 yrs,
you may have missed the market by being either too early or too late (depending on
your perspective).  However, all those "worthless" maples that have been culled out
due to market prejudice would look pretty damned good.   Market patterns run for
about 30 yrs.  Maple has rebounded and is very close to the red oak market.
Nothing touches cherry.  The ash market has been flat for several years.  So, maybe
it is better to generate a crop of oak, and let another crop of maple start
underneath that for a subsequent harvest before reverting back to oak.  That merges
both silviculture and marketing.

RDW





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