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The information presented on this page was originally released on October 17, 1997. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Forest Products Industry Matures
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forest products have set record production values in nine of the last 10 years, but the best word to describe the industry is "maturing."
"Mississippi's forestry industry is beginning to mature and has established a firm hold on the national market," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University.
The South has met an increased share of the nation's softwood lumber needs in the last five years, and this has benefitted Mississippi's economy.
"Today, our industry is more of a critical piece of the national puzzle than ever," Daniels said. "It is even more important now for landowners to keep land in forests, make good management decisions and boost timber production."
About 70 percent of Mississippi's forest production value is from pine, including pulp and paper, poles, lumber and structural panel products like plywood.
Daniels said the delivered value of pine sawlogs was almost half a billion dollars in 1996. Pine sawlogs were 41 percent of the total harvest value.
"Trends toward more outdoor activities and the use of treated wood in construction have contributed to the value of pine," Daniels said. "About 55 percent of the Southern pine lumber manufactured gets treated and used for decks, fences, boat docks and other outdoor uses."
The bulk of the hardwood industry is lumber production, primarily red and white oak lumber. The 1996 value of hardwood sawlogs was $130 million.
The value of hardwood pulpwood (pulp and paper) for 1996 was $139 million.
"This wood goes into chips for pulp and paper or structural panels like oriented strandboard," Daniels said. "Mississippi exports about 10 percent of the hardwood chips."
The specialist said 1997 has been a good year for forestry so far. Strong prices and a good lumber market at the end of 1996 carried over into 1997.
Despite a rainy spring, the dry weather during the summer months helped harvesting. Pine beetles were not a major threat during the year.
For 30 years, Mississippi has had more certified tree farms than any other state.
"Mississippi has some of the best tree farmers, loggers and industry managers," Daniels said. "Recently, Mississippi has been home to two national tree farmers of the year, one national logger of the year and one national tree farm inspector of the year."
Oct. 19 through 25 is National Forest Products Week.