Projected Timber Scarcities in the Pacific Northwest:

A Critique of 11 Studies

EMD-79-5: Published: Dec 12, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 1978.

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Concern has been growing about possibly serious timber shortages in the Douglas-fir region of the Pacific Northwest. A critical analysis is provided of 11 studies dealing with various aspects of the projected timber shortage in the Pacific Northwest.

Generally, differences and conflicts in the conclusions reached by the 11 studies were due more to differing assumptions than to faults in the data used or to the ways the data were applied. The studies generally agreed that continuing current timber growing and harvesting practices would likely lead to a sizable drop of available timber from the Pacific Northwest in the years just ahead. The economic effects appeared to be considerably higher timber prices, a loss of market share by the region (in part to imports), and possibly a decline in regional employment and income. The studies also agreed that regional timber shortages could be averted by increased investment in growing timber, revised harvest schedules, or both. Questions raised by the studies concern: (1) the optimum amount and application of forest investment; (2) what, if any, changes should be made to harvest schedules; and (3) the extent of possible environmental damage or limitations on nontimber uses of the forest that could result from these changes.

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