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Forest2Market Data Shows North Carolina Timber Markets Stronger than Most in 2010

October 23, 2010
Author: Suz-Anne Kinney

North Carolina standing timber prices have increased over the course of 2010, according to Forest2Market, the industry’s only provider of local timber price reports based on actual sales transactions.

Pulpwood products gained considerable ground over the last 12 months. The weighted average price for pine pulpwood over the last 60-day period (October 1, 2010-December 1, 2010) was $9.33 per ton. This is a 34 percent increase over the same 60-day period last year. Hardwood pulpwood prices in North Carolina rose 19 percent over the same period; the weighted average price over the last 60 days was $5.67 per ton. Forest2Market timber market analyst, Mike Fiery, attributes this jump to the strong performance—on a relative basis—of the global pulp and paper market this year.

The market for lumber and building products has been weak, however. Despite this, sawtimber products in North Carolina have also increased over the last year. The weighted average price for pine sawtimber over the last 60-day period was $26.45 per ton; this is 3 percent higher than the same period last year. Prices for pine cut-n-saw (a smaller class of sawtimber) increased by 12 percent, the 60-day weighted average ending at $13.95 per ton.

The weighted average price for hardwood sawtimber over the last 60 days was $20.92 per ton. This is a 16 percent increase over the same period last year.

North Carolina’s timber industry fared better than most in the last year, says Fiery. “It’s rare for timber prices in a state to show increases across the board in an economy like this one, especially when the housing market is so weak. Part of this can be attributed to an increase in exports of timber and wood products to overseas markets.”

More than 18 million of North Carolina’s acres are forested; 15.7 million of these acres are privately owned by more than 600,000 private individuals who rely on the timber harvested there for income. Over the last 12 months, for instance, nearly 16 million tons of timber products were harvested from these acres, representing more than $238 million in income to the state’s forest landowners. While these numbers are lower than mid-decade highs—when timber-related industries employed more than 60,000 workers and contributed more than $5 billion to the gross state product—t he timber industry continues to be very important to the economic health of North Carolina’s rural counties.

Looking forward, Fiery expects that bioenergy will become more important for the timber industry. “New markets for North Carolina’s timber will be the key to the future, as the housing market is not likely to return to its former highs for several years. The wood-to electricity and biofuels facilities that are scheduled for conversion or construction are a good sign for the industry, as the industry tends to be stronger when there are more markets for timber products.”

North Carolinians should not be concerned that these new markets for timber products will lead to the destruction of the state’s forests. According to Fiery, annual forest growth currently exceeds annual forest harvests in the state by 20 percent. Even as more wood-to-energy facilities come online, North Carolina’s forests are in a good position to support high levels of industry employment into the future.”


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Suz-Anne Kinney: +1 980 233 4021 or
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