Report describes relationships between forest products demand and forest area, inventory, and productivity

A recent report focused on the US South suggests that increased demand for forest products has led to greater forest productivity, increased forest inventory, and stability in forested area. The report, Historical Perspective on the Relationship between Demand and Forest Productivity in the US South, was prepared by Forest2Market, Inc. and commissioned by Drax Group, plc, National Alliance of Forest Owners and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.  It analyzes data from the U.S. Forest Service data and others to describe the relationships between changes in demand and supply from 1953 to 2015.

Key findings in the report include that during the last 60 years, rising demand for forest products increased removals from timberlands in the South by about 57%. Over the same period, forest landowners increased productivity by investing in research and advancing silvicultural techniques. 

The result was a 112% increase in annual growth, causing growth to surpass annual removals by 38% on average. Between 1953 and 2015, the amount of timberland in the US South increased by about 3%, while standing timber inventory increased by 108%. 

The authors conclude that urbanization is the greatest threat to forests in the US South, and that robust markets for forest products are vital for mitigating this threat.