US: South’s forest industry struggles through 09
Every sector in forest products in the South swooned in 2009, with sawmill production falling an industry-worst 21 percent on top of a 23 percent decline in 2008.
Pulp and paper mills were less hard-hit, an industry group reported.
In the past decade, Louisiana has lost about 35 percent of its forest- and paper-related industry jobs, and the decline in building during the latest recession made matters worse.
Paper and pulp mills fared somewhat better than lumber sawmills, the industry consultant Forest2Market reported this week in a year-end analysis.
In the South, hardwood paper and pulp mill production declined 7.2 percent, with pine paper and pulp mill production off 3.5 percent last year, according to Forest2Market, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., and provides market price information for the timber-rich South and Pacific Northwest.
Pine sawtimber prices dropped 12 percent from 2008, to $41 per ton, while pine fiber prices fell 5.7 percent and hardwood fiber fell 2.7 percent. Prices did improve in the fourth quarter, Forest2Market reported, and one category alone improved in 2009: Fuel-wood prices driven by biomass energy projects and lower supplies from mills rose 3.6 percent.