Factors Influencing Changes in U.S. Hardwood Log and Lumber Exports from 1990 to 2011

William G. Luppold, Matthew S. Bumgardner


Domestic consumption of hardwood products in the United States since 2000 has trended downward, making exports the single most important market for higher grade hardwood lumber and a major market for higher value hardwood logs. Between 1990 and 2011, hardwood lumber exports increased by 46%. During most of this period, Canada was the largest export market for U.S. lumber, but in 2009 China/Hong Kong became the most important market. Nearly 60% of the lumber exported in 1990 was red or white oak, but the proportion of exports of these species had decreased to 38% by 2011. By contrast, exports of yellow-poplar lumber increased by 381% over this period. The volume of hardwood logs exported grew by 62% between 1990 and 2011, and Canada remained the largest customer. Several factors can affect the export of hardwood lumber and logs. In the 1990s, changes in exchange rates and economic activity in importing countries could be linked with changes in lumber and log exports. Since 2000, China, Vietnam, and other East Asian furniture-producing countries have become important export markets as overseas manufacturers seek lumber of species familiar to U.S. consumers. Conversely, the large decrease in hardwood lumber and log exports to Canada between 2006 and 2009 coincides with a similar decrease in wood furniture imports from Canada.


Hardwood lumber; Hardwood logs; Exports; Exchange rates; International trade

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