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http://www.sacbee.com/103/story/221566.html

State timber harvest continues its decline

By Jim Downing - Sacramento Bee  June 14, 2007

California's timber harvest dropped 5.4 percent in 2006 to 1.63 billion board-feet, the second-lowest level since 1936, a timber industry trade group noted in its annual report scheduled for release today.

A board-foot is a block 12 inches square and an inch thick.

Logging on public lands in California has dropped more than 90 percent since its 1988 peak, while private land logging is down 45 percent, according to state data.

Many factors have contributed to the reductions.

Donn Zea, president of the Auburn-based California Forest Products Commission, blamed the drop primarily on state rules that require timber companies to prepare extensive environmental reviews before cutting.

The review process and other restrictions make logging in California more expensive than in other states, notably Oregon and Washington, Zea said.

Paul Mason, a forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club in Sacramento, said state reviews are necessary to protect soil, water and habitat quality in forestland degraded by logging in the past.

He said the drop in logging also has coincided with the exhaustion of old-growth forests, restrictions in response to endangered-species concerns and volatility in the world price of lumber.

California produces less than 20 percent of the wood it uses each year, down from 100 percent in the late 1970s, Zea said.

timber harvest chart

 
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