Publication Details

Changes in Eastern Hardwood Sawtimber Growth and Harvest

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Forest Products Journal


This article examines increases in eastern hardwood sawtimber volume by species group and species, the utilization of sawtimber by species groups and important eastern species, the utilization of sawtimber by species group by subregion, and discusses issues that could impede future growth of the hardwood timber resource. Eastern hardwood sawtimber volume has nearly tripled between 1953 and 2011 with yellow-poplar, soft maple, ash, and cottonwood/aspen having the greatest increase. Ironically, the cottonwood/aspen group appears to be currently overutilized with relatively low net growth-to-harvest ratios, but this finding appears to be the result of a high volume of aspen stems being less than sawtimber size. In general, lower-value species, including other red oaks and sweetgum, are relatively overutilized and have growth-to-harvest ratios less than 2.0. By contrast, higher-value species, including select red oaks, select white oaks, and hard maple, are utilized at the level at which they are found in the timber inventory, and all have growth-to-harvest ratios greater than 2.0. These results may be reflective of the declining production of appearance-based hardwood products relative to less valuable industrial products in the last 5 years. While the growth in hardwood sawtimber on timberland has been substantial, there are several factors that could affect future growth, including nonnative disease and insect mortality, adversely high deer populations, and land conversion.


growth; sawtimber; timberland; harvest


Luppold, William G; Miller, Gary W. 2014. Changes in Eastern Hardwood Sawtimber Growth and Harvest. Forest Products Journal. 64(1-2): 26-32.

Last updated on: December 18, 2018