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Timber Products Markets Shift, Counties, Others Wait


Counties are losing dollars as the timber products industries shift demand for certain types of trees.

The law of supply and demand has changed the pulpwood market says Great Lakes Timber Professionals Executive Director Henry Schienebeck.

He says two years ago paper mills inventory were running low of typical pulpwood trees like red pine. He says producers upped their production and now he says there is an oversupply of pulp. He says the paper process has also changed, using more hardwood and aspen. As red pine and softwood piles up, counties are not being paid for their sales..

".....two years ago when the market was really good, (they) bid timber sales maybe one or two years from when we actually buy the timber sale. If you bid it on today's price that you get on the market and that price drops, then you have to leave the sale sit because it's not economical to do that timber sale, so you leave it...."

He says the paper process has also changed...

"....for whatever reason they've changed their recipes a little bit I think for making paper. Now they're using more hardwood and aspen-type material. Softwood pulp has gotten kind of hard to get rid of, actually...."

He says eventually the price for hardwood and aspen will be above the price of pine and buyers will shift back. He says because of the exchange rate between Canadian and U.S. dollars, it makes it less expensive to import wood from Canada. He says the demographics are also changing and printing paper is not the market it once was

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