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06/13/2018

Forest Service Pledges Largest Timber Harvest in 20 Years

softwood lumber

In a victory for NAHB, Interim Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen told Congress yesterday that the Forest Service expects its 2018 timber harvest will be the biggest in 20 years.

NAHB has been leading the charge to urge Congress and the Trump administration to consider ways to increase the domestic supply of timber of public lands.

These efforts are especially critical, given that the Commerce Department has placed tariffs averaging more than 20% on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. and that the U.S. relies on Canada to meet roughly one-third of its lumber needs.

Since January of last year, rising lumber prices have increased the cost of an average single-family home by nearly $9,000. Much of these unprecedented price hikes are due to the lumber tariffs.

Testifying yesterday before Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Christiansen said: “Our anticipated level of timber harvest in fiscal 2018 is the highest it’s been in 20 years. In all, this year the Forest Service plans to sell 3.4 billion board feet of timber while improving the resiliency and health of more than 3 million acres of National Forest System lands through removal of hazardous fuels and stand treatments.”

Christiansen said a major reason why timber harvests are on a pace to run 30% ahead of last year’s levels is because of expanded forest management authority in the 2018 omnibus spending bill passed into law last December.

NAHB strongly supported these provisions in the omnibus bill and continues to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber imports into the U.S. at a competitive price.

On June 7, Christiansen was questioned by Rep. Raul Labrador (R.-Idaho) during a House Subcommittee on Federal Lands meeting, who wanted to know whether harvesting more wood could both decrease the fire risk in federal forests and supply much-needed wood. “How can you ensure that the industries that rely heavily on wood products have the resources they need at an affordable price?

 

Source: NAHB Now

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