ORIGIN OF RESOLUTION: NASF Forest Markets Committee (FMC)
ISSUE OF CONCERN: The FMC has identified the loss of US wood products markets as a major concern for the United States' forest industry and economy. Until year 2000, the U.S. share of world industrial roundwood remained stable for 40 years at 25 percent, according to the Southern Forest Resource Assessment. But over the last decade, production has declined to 20% (not including fuelwood), and values of imports have exceeded exports. Most reports indicate that U.S. forest capacity remains strong and could support an increase in industrial wood output, but wood markets and demand limit production.
According to the Forest Products Industry Technology Roadmap 2010 our forests remain a strategic natural resource contributing 6 percent of total manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006, placing the forest products industry on par with the automotive and plastics industries. The industry generates more than $200 billion a year in sales and employs approximately 900,000 people earning $50 billion in annual payroll. The industry is among the top 10 manufacturing employers in 42 states. This strong economic contribution could be grown substantially with improved markets.
Governmental laws, policies and regulations, including currency and tax rates as well as incentives, greatly influence the management and utilization of forests and wood product markets. Governmental influences and other factors need to be assessed and modified where needed to enhance wood markets and production to maximize jobs and overall economic impact while caring for environmental and societal needs.
FMC Working Vision Statement: "Recover the United States' historic 25% share of world industrial roundwood production and increase its share of global wood value production to grow forest-based job numbers and the country's economy through the utilization of sustainable forest practices."
According to the USDA Forest Products Lab, total U.S. housing starts declined by over 55 percent, between 2005 and 2008 from a peak in 2005 of 2,068,000 down to 906,000. Consumption of wood products has paced with population, about 68 cubic feet per year from 1987 - 2006, yet it has increased faster than harvest, leaving forests in other countries to carry the burden of U.S. consumption. In 2006 alone, forest product import value was about 71 percent higher than export value - again, placing both the "favorable and unfavorable impacts of forest management" on the backs of foreign nations,
Jobs and Wages
The trends in wages have increased for pulp and paper industries and U.S. Forest Service employees and remained stable or declined for wood products industries.
• Jobs in forest products industries decreased about 15% between 1997 and 2006, from 1.51 to 1.29 million. Declines include 21% for forestry and logging, 6% for solidwood products, 28% for pulp and paper, and 3% for wood furniture. Within the furniture category, non-upholstered wood furniture decreased 44% from 127,703 to 71,544, and architectural woodwork and millwork increased 31% from 24,390 to 32,033. Forestry and logging jobs remained relatively constant between 1986 and 1996.
• In 2006, forest industry jobs made up 0.6% of all U.S. jobs and 7.3% of manufacturing jobs. In 1950 the figure was 2.5% of all jobs and 8.6% of manufacturing jobs.
• Annual income per full-time equivalent employee for paper products increased from $39,954 to $52,572 between 1975 and 2006, while wood products annual income increased from $30,866 to $34,239 (all in 2005$).
• Production worker wages for forestry and logging, including timber tract operations, nurseries, and logging, ranged from $33,000 to $34,620 in 2008.
Between 1990 and 2006, the value of forest products imports increased 73%-from $24 to $41 billion (2005$). At the same time, the value of exports increased 15%, from $20 to $24 billion. In 2006, import value was about 71% higher than export value.
"There has been a trend since 1990 in increasing value and volume of wood and paper imports relative to exports. If this trend continues, we will become increasingly dependent on forests outside the United States-becoming less self-sufficient-in providing the benefits from use of wood and paper in the United States. The favorable or unfavorable effects of forest management and harvesting wood in the United States would be shifted to forest management and harvesting in other countries."
James Howard, USDA Forest Products Lab
The FMC has developed a working vision statement of the desired future wood market condition to correct the problem.
Upon acceptance of this resolution by the NASF membership, the FMC, with assistance from the overall NASF, will begin pursuing the vision by seeking partners and assessing existing laws, policies and regulations and other factors that impact forest markets.
NASF supports the United States recovering its historic share of world industrial wood production from all lands and increasing its share of global wood value production to grow forest-based job numbers and the country's economy through the utilization of sustainable forest practices.
DATE OF ACTION: September 21, 2011