November 24, 2015 - Forest2Market, an independent group of forest analysts, recently conducted a study to quantify the effects that the export wood pellet industry has had on forests and industry in the U.S. South.
Commissioned by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, this study – Wood Supply Market Trends in the US South: 1995-2015 – shows that fears the export pellet industry is harming either the forests or forest products industries are unfounded.
Data shows that pulpwood harvests for export pellet facilities are a small fraction of overall harvests when compared to harvests for non-pellet facilities and will likely remain relatively small in the future taking into consideration realistic estimates of future export pellet demand from Europe.
In 2014, pellet exports from the U.S. South (Atlantic and Gulf regions) to Europe were 3.6 million metric tons, or 40 per cent of Europe’s 9,000,000-metric-ton industrial pellet consumption.
Wood fibre removals for this demand represent a minor portion of harvests in the relevant regions:
•In 2014, total harvest removals of pine for export pellet production in the Atlantic and Gulf regions totalled approximately 3.7 million tons annually compared to 117.7 million tons for non-pellet production. Removals for export pellet production represents 0.3% of the total pine pulpwood inventory and 0.09% of the combined pine pulpwood and sawtimber inventory.
•In 2014, total harvest removals of hardwood for export pellet production in the Atlantic and Gulf regions totalled approximately 2.4 million tons annually. Hardwood removals for export pellet production in the Atlantic region were 2.3 million tons; in the Gulf region, hardwood removals were a mere 31,000 tons. Comparatively, non-pellet hardwood pulpwood consumers harvested 33.6 million tons. Removals for export pellet production represents 0.2% of the total hardwood pulpwood inventory and 0.06% of the combined hardwood pulpwood and sawtimber inventory.
•In 2014, harvest removals of for all wood consuming entities in the U.S. South totalled 3.3% of all forest inventory. Just 0.08% of all forest inventory was removed to produce export wood pellets.
To check out the report, click here.