Agricultural Marketing:

Status of the Forest Products Industry

RCED-92-170BR: Published: Jun 23, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1992.

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GAO reviewed the forest products industry's competitive condition, focusing on: (1) sources of raw material; (2) the effects of industry changes on the Pacific Coast states; and (3) federal efforts to assist the industry.

GAO found that: (1) to maintain its competitiveness, the U.S. forest products industry has become more efficient and increased its share of the world market for forest products; (2) between 1982 and 1989, productivity increased 35 percent; (3) a significant portion of exports continues to be products that require the least processing; (4) during the past 40 years, the nation's total inventory of timber has remained fairly constant; (5) most of the declines in the softwood timber inventory have come from the Pacific Coast because of extensive cutting of large-diameter trees on industry-owned land and in part because of removals of federal lands from timber production for environmental reasons; (6) the South has a production cost advantage over the Pacific Coast because the South has lower costs and flatter terrain, affecting logging and processing costs; (7) employment in the U.S. forest products industry fluctuates in response to increases and decreases in the demand for wood products; and (8) the federal government has numerous programs designed to promote agricultural exports, three are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are intended to increase exports of solid wood products.

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