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A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal was a great example of how FLA is working to ensure the right narrative is being told about forest landowners managing their land for the nation’s domestic timber supply and their need to be economically viable to be able to continue to provide essential environmental services for solving our country’s most pressing needs of clean air and water. The article by Ryan Dezember, profiles and quotes several FLA members. Published on February 25, the article received more than 450 responses.
FLA CEO, Scott Jones response to the Wall Street Journal article
The recent article “Lumber Prices are Soaring. Why are Tree Growers Miserable?” highlights how it’s hard to see the forests these days for the lumber.
Lumber markets have responded to the oversupply created by privately owned forests across the Southeast by adding capacity and making capital improvements, but it appears landowners have become their own worst enemy in the lack of correlation in lumber and timber prices.
Participating in federal programs to plant more trees and trusting that the market for timber products would increase has led to a greater supply of forests than we have seen in more than 50 years. Now, these landowners are stuck watching lifelong investments slowly sour and desperately searching for a solution that will instill confidence in making timber investments in these lands for future generations.
Without vibrant markets for timber, forest landowners find themselves forced to wait until prices recover or take a loss on the harvest by selling at depressed market prices. These discouraging options lead many forest owners, including the landowners profiled in the article, to consider other uses for their tracts of land. Given the immense public benefits that private forestlands provide to society, we should all root for their sustainability.
The one thing sawmills and timber growers can agree on is that we all want healthy forests and a healthy environment. So, we must work together to create assurances for timber growers to continue managing their lands as forests. Lines of communications with existing mills and enhancement of emerging markets such as carbon sequestration in the forests will be a positive first step to instilling confidence and sustaining timber growers.
Finding solutions will not be quick or easy, but when it comes to the future of rural economies and the environment across the South it’s essential. We all enjoy the benefits of healthy forests from the products that make our lives better to clean air, water, and wildlife habitat, and no one wants that more than the family that owns and manages that land. By ensuring these landowners have healthy markets for their products, we can help ensure their sustainability for generations to come and from that, we will all benefit.