Hardwood Lumber Exports: Dynamic Markets Critical to Sustaining the US Hardwood Industry

By Matthew Bumgardner
USDA Forest Service
February 29, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. hardwood industry has undergone substantial changes in recent years. The domestic furniture sector and consumption of hardwood lumber for construction have declined due to the Great Recession. However, exports have emerged as a vital cushion that is preventing a more extensive decrease in hardwood lumber production and mitigating economic impacts on the industry. …Hardwood lumber exports expanded by 2.5 million cubic meters between 1990 and 2017 and peaked at 4.5 million cubic meters in 2017. Despite a subsequent decline of 1.1 million cubic meters, exports in 2021 remained 73% higher than in 1990. …In the 1990s, Europe was a dominant export destination, but the 21st century brought a remarkable increase in the China/Hong Kong/Vietnam region’s importance as an export hub. By 2017, the CHV region had surged ahead and accounted for almost 65 percent of U.S. hardwood exports. This shifting landscape had implications for different hardwood species. 

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