The Bugwood Network

Timber Supply


  • The U.S. is the world's leading producer and consumer of forest products, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's production and consumption.
  • In 1994, Americans used per person, an average of 749 pounds of paper products and 18 cubic feet of lumber and structural panel products. This equates to three average pulpwood trees, plus two average sawtimber trees.
  • In the U.S. in 1992, there were approximately 1 million new single-family housing construction starts. Annual housing starts are expected to remain around 1.4 million for the remainder of the 1990s and rise to about 1.7 million starts by 2010
  • In 1992, the average singlefamily home ( just over 2,000 square feet) contains 16,946 board feet of lumber (95% softwood and 5% hardwood), up to 9,668 square feet of structural panel products (74% softwood plywood and 26% OSB/waferboard), and up to 3,199 square feet of non-structural panel products (42% insulating board, 28% particleboard, 19% hardboard, and 11% hardwood plywood).
  • The U.S. is the world's largest producer of softwood lumber, followed by Canada and Russia.
  • The U.S. is the largest producer of hardwood lumber, softwood plywood, and composite panels.
  • The supply of timber at any point in time is determined, in part, as a function of private timber inventory levels, stumpage prices, and the amount of public forestland available for harvest.
  • Timber supply projections require considerations of forest growth, private timberland management, timberland area change, forest type transition, harvest flows from public timberlands, and an array of market forces.
  • Timber availability for harvest is impacted by environmental constraints, demographic trends, public opinion, and landowner objectives.
  • The amount of timber that is available for harvest from the total existing supply is greatly reduced by excessively sloped land, water quality problems, broken terrain, limited road access, small harvest areas, public ownership, growing metropolitan areas, endangered species, wetlands, increased costs due to adoption of best management practices for timber, state and local regulations, nontimber objectives of landowners, increased recreational use of forest lands, and conversion of land use among agricultural, forest, and urban uses.


  • During the early 1900s onto the 1950s, timber supplies for the U.S. South were projected to fall significantly below demand. However, by the 1960s and 1970s softwood and hardwood growing inventories had increased sufficiently to prompt expansions in the solid wood and pulp and paper manufacturing sectors throughout the Southern region.
  • Six-thousand new homes, using 14,000 board feet of lumber each, could be built from lumber produced only from new growth added in Southern forests during the next 24 hours.
  • The growth of Southern timber inventories has leveled off due to increased removals plus environmental and urban factor constraints on available harvests in the U.S.
  • The South contains about two-fifths of the timberland in the U.S. It contains 23% of the softwood growing stock in the U.S. and 44% of the hardwood growing stock.
  • Southern softwood removals comprise 53% of the U.S. total. Hardwood removals are 60% of totals.
  • Southern hardwood annual growth exceeds harvest by 51%. Whereas, total average softwood growth is only 88% of harvest.
  • The Southern softwood annual removal to total inventory ratio is 1:18 and is 1:48 for hardwoods. This indicates an 18 year supply of standing softwood and a 48 year supply of standing hardwoods, at current harvest rates, if there were no annual new growth.
  • From 1984 through 1993, Southern pulpwood production increased almost 13%, from 58.7 to 66.3 million cords.
  • In 1991, the most recent year for which complete information is available, the South Central region of the U.S. ranked first in roundwood production. States from Alabama to Kentucky to Oklahoma supplied 27% of roundwood production. The Southeast produced 22% of the total.
  • In the Southeast region of the U.S. with 84.9 million acres of forest, 15% is in pine plantations, 25% is in natural pines, 11% is in mixed pine/hardwoods, 32% is in upland hardwoods, and 16% is in bottomland hardwoods.


  • Total timberland area in Georgia is projected to decline from 23.5 to 21.8 million acres by the year 2030.
  • Pine plantation acres in Georgia are projected to increase from 4.72 million acres to 7.17 acres by the year 2030.
  • Naturally regenerated pine acres in Georgia are projected to decrease from 6.97 to 3.14 million acres by the year 2030.
  • Wood volumes from planted pines can be 15 to 20% higher than for naturally regenerated stands, while total revenues can be more than 30% higher, because of higher-value wood that can be merchandized from larger stems. Such products include larger size lumber and better plywood veneers.
  • Planted pines usually grow faster than naturally regenerated trees, because of generally wider spacing, often more managed care, and possibly improved genetic stock. However, fast growth produces a larger center core of light-weight, low-strength, wrap-prone, non-uniform wood with wide growth rings, less suitable for high-value products.
  • Practicing "sustainable forestry" involves managing forest resources for long-term productivity, which certainly includes reforestation. Artificial regeneration (plantations of trees) is probably the most cost-effective means of rapidly reproducing a forested environment when trees are harvested, helping sustain a variety of forest resources.
  • Mixed pine/hardwood acreage in Georgia is expected to decrease slightly from 2.74 to 2.42 million acres by the year 2030. Typically, these stands are 50% or more oak and 25% to 50% pine.
  • Upland hardwood acreage in Georgia is expected to decrease slightly from 3.58 to 3.44 million acres by the year 2030.
  • In Georgia in 1992, all forest products harvested totaled 1,229,921,000 cubic feet; 506,385,000 cubic feet of sawlogs were harvested; 72,605,000 cubic feet of veneer logs; 44,948,000 cubic feet of composite board; 547,855,000 cubic feet of pulpwood; and, 58,128,000 cubic feet of poles, pilings, posts, and other miscellaneous products.
  • Pulpwood production in Georgia for 1993 was 9,935,900 cords.
  • Projections for softwood timber removals in Georgia show a slight decrease from 1,132,000,000 cubic feet in 1984 to 1,125,000,000 cubic feet in 2030.
  • Annual growth in Georgia softwood was estimated at 1,160,000,000 cubic feet in 1984, but is expected to dip to 1,116,000,000 cubic feet per year by the year 2000, then climb to 1,210,000,000 cubic feet of annual growth by 2030.
  • Georgia projections indicate that annual softwood timber harvests will exceed annual growth in the 1990s, but a surplus will be realized by the year 2000. Pine plantation growth will almost triple from 307,000,000 cubic feet per year in 1984 to 860,000,000 cubic feet per year in 2030, a 46-year span.
  • Georgia softwood timber inventories experienced a large increase from 1952 to 1984 - from 10,309,000,000 cubic feet in 1952 to 15,743,000,000 cubic feet in 1984, a growing stock increase of 53%. The Georgia softwood timber inventory is projected at 14,309,000,000 cubic feet in 2030.
  • Georgia annual hardwood timber harvest remained flat from 1952 to 1976, at about 265,000,000 cubic feet per year. Georgia annual hardwood timber harvest are projected to increase to 505,000,000 cubic feet by 2020, then decline to 491,000,000 cubic feet by 2030.
  • In Georgia, net annual growing stock of hardwoods increased from 329,000,000 cubic feet in 1952 to 577,000,000 cubic feet in 1984, or by 75%. This net annual hardwood growth in Georgia is projected to decline to 436,000,000 cubic feet by 2010, then increase slightly to 443,000,000 by 2030.
  • Hardwood inventories (growing stock) in Georgia rose from 8,191,000,000 cubic feet in 1952 to 14,288,000,000 cubic feet in 1984, a 74% increase. By the year 2000, growth and removals are projected to come into balance. Inventory in 2010 is projected to be 15,627,000,000 cubic feet of hardwoods, decreasing to 14,245,000,000 cubic feet by 2030.

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The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Friday, May 10, 2002 at 09:30 AM
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