Even as the United States cuts fewer trees on its public lands and exports fewer raw logs, some mills stay as busy as ever. How? By milling imported logs.
some mills are relying on imports of plantation-grown radiata pine
from Chile and New Zealand to replace the dwindling supply of
Cascade Wood Products Inc. of
White City, Ore., began importing the logs 10 years ago to make
porch posts, The Oregonian reports. Then it was a novelty; today,
radiata pine feeds three-fourths of the company's production of
window and door frames.
"Five years ago, no one
would have guessed or even considered that," said Hakan Ekstrom,
editor of the Seattle-based North American Wood Fiber
In 1991, the U.S. imported 7.6 million
board-feet; last year, the amount had jumped to 84 million
board-feet. Meanwhile, exports of raw logs to Japan - the
destination of 95 percent of U.S. log exports - are dropping. As
recently as 1989, Japan imported 28 million board-feet of American
logs. Ekstrom estimates that trade dropped to under 14 million
board-feet last year.