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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Economics, Statistics and Life Cycle Analysis Research

Project Title :  Understanding is needed on the effect of production and technology changes in solidwood and end-use industries on product and wood needs
Project Number : FPL-4851-4A
Start Date : 07-23-2007
End Date : 07-23-2012

View the 12 publications associated with this project.

Principal Investigator:
Kenneth E. Skog

Non Technical Summary
The objective of this problem area is to provide improved understanding about the effect that production trends and technology changes in solidwood and wood composites industries and wood end use industries (such as housing) have on product and wood needs - to help natural resource policymakers and managers, and industry managers to develop strategic and short term plans.

Objectives Summary
The objective of this problem area is to provide improved understanding about the effect that production trends and technology changes in solidwood and composites industry and end-use industries have on product and wood needs, to help natural resource policymakers and managers, and industry managers to develop strategic and short-term plans. The U.S. lumber, wood products, and furniture and fixture industries are a major segment of manufacturing industries, 1,102,000 employees and $184 billion in shipments in 2004. The demand for wood by these industries influences management of U.S. forests, which in turn is influenced by the tree species, tree sizes, and amounts used to produce softwood and hardwood lumber and composite products using various technologies. The amounts of these products produced are influenced by demands for products and technologies used in major end uses, particularly in construction and manufacturing. Changes in the softwood lumber and composites sectors are influenced by the fact that they are highly mature, commodity-oriented businesses that are subject to market volatility in response to fluctuations in supply and demand. Both sectors are tied to the construction market. The adoption of new technologies is continually necessary to cut cost and remain competitive in a low margin, price dominated environment. Their development is also tied to counterparts in Canada. Imports of solidwood products are projected to remain high with an increasing share of softwood lumber coming from nonCanadian sources. Cross border trade dependencies increase uncertainties in demand for production by domestic mills. These factors interact to determine trends in industry capacity development, which in turn determines demand for timber in the U.S. and Canada. By maintaining an understanding of the forces and trends in capacity, natural resource managers will better understand trends in regional timber requirements. Trends in demand for softwood lumber and composites are largely determined by trends in construction. The construction of new houses and their upkeep and improvement, new stores, offices, hotels and other nonresidential buildings, highways, dams, and other nonresidential nonbuilding structures, and railroad track construction and maintenance requires about 65 percent of all the lumber, 85 percent of all the structural panels, and 35 percent of all the nonstructural panels consumed in the U.S. Species and size of trees needed for products have changed and continues to change as wood use in construction changes. Changes have included the substitution of nonwood for wood in building products, the development and adoption of new wood products to substitute for existing wood and nonwood building products, changes in architectural characteristics of buildings and in building codes which favor one type of building product over another. Changes in solidwood recycling also influence wood demand. The deconstruction of old buildings, and the development of grading standards for the salvaged material is beginning to make this an important source of timber.

Approach Summary
The approach to providing understanding of production trends and the impact technology change for solidwood and composites product industries is to first maintain detailed capacity and production statistics for softwood lumber and panel mills in the U.S. and Canada and second to assess how drivers of wood supply and product demand are causing the observed trends in production and technology. In addition, the prospects for new markets for products (e.g., composites) will be assessed for individual new products by identifying possible use markets and the size of those markets. The approach to providing understanding of trends in use of solidwood and composite products in major end uses is to collaborate with industry associations and others to conduct detailed surveys of wood use in each of several end uses over time and prepare reports which display use rates and analyze how use of different products is changing to make various components (e.g., roofs, floors, walls) in each end use. Accomplishments planned for the next 5 years include the following: 1. Collect information on the use of wood in major end use markets in collaboration with the Wood Products Council, Forintek Canada Corp., and other industry associations and/or universities. Emphasis will be on areas where substantial or important changes are taking place. 2. Evaluate potential impacts on the use of wood products in new nonresidential building construction resulting from the acceptance of the International Building Code (IBC) in the U.S.. The IBC defines broader guidelines for using wood framed construction in a variety of nonresidential building types and occupancies than other codes did in the past. Substantial increases are expected. 3. Develop estimates of the amounts of solid wood waste available in the U.S., and assess opportunities increase its utilization in recycled products. Included is an evaluation of the potential recovery of solid wood from residential building deconstruction. 4. Maintain and update mill capacity statistics in the U.S. and Canada. 5. Analyze economic factors changing the demand for and supply of lumber and panel products, and implications for resource requirements. 6. Provide a model of demand for the solid wood sector to project interaction of end-use demand, technology change, and supply sources to determine wood and fiber requirements. 7. Identify potential market adoption and market size for advanced composites to be developed by FPL

Publications associated with this Project

Publication YearTitleDate Posted
2012Cost and time study for constructing raised wood floor systems in the Gulf Coast Region of the United States03/28/12
2009Estimated Annual Timber Products Consumption in Major End Uses in the United States, 1950-200607/21/09
2012Generation and Recovery of Solid Wood Waste in the U.S.09/17/12
2010Government policies increasingly promote renewable energy sources: Wood energy markets in the UNECE region, 2009-201005/16/11
2009North America's Wood Pellet Sector08/19/09
2009Profile 2009: Softwood Sawmillls in the United States and Canada10/22/09
2009Roseburg Repeat10/06/09
2011Solid Wood Timber Products Consumption in Major End Uses in the United States, 1950-2009; A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment09/23/11
2009Wood Products Used in New Residential Construction U.S. and Canada, with comparisons to 1995, 1998 and 200305/17/10
2010Wood Products Used In The Construction Of Low-Rise Nonresidential Buildings In The United States, 200801/10/11
2011Wood supply and demand02/21/11
2009Wood Used in Residential Repair and Remodeling U.S. and Canada with comparisons to 1997 and 2003.05/17/10

Project Summaries last modified: 06-21-2011