Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Monday, May 1

Dry Weather Drives Down Southern Tree Prices

ALBANY, Ga., April 28—The spread of drought and abnormally dry conditions across much of the South helped drive down prices paid tree growers for standing timber in the first quarter of the year, a leading forestry consulting firm reports.

F&W Forestry Services, Inc., an Albany-based firm that provides consulting and management services—including tree sales—to private timberland owners throughout the Southern region, said prices of standing timber of all species and categories were down during the period.

“An early start to the dry weather usually associated with the beginning of summer was the probable cause for timber price declines,” F&W President Marshall Thomas wrote in the spring edition of his firm’s forestry newsletter. The publication reports timber prices and market conditions gathered by its network of 13 branch offices based on timber sales and other data.

Extended dry weather usually means a drop in tree prices at the grower level because conditions are ideal for logging, often resulting in excess supplies.

F&W said hardwood species of pulpwood-class trees, those going to pulp and paper mills, took the biggest price hit during the first quarter—down 13 percent from the last quarter of 2005. Pine pulpwood and sawtimber, larger trees used for making lumber, also declined but less sharply—down by two to seven percent.

Thomas noted that Southern pine lumber prices have risen 26 percent since 2003 while prices received by tree growers for pine sawtimber have remained relatively stable.

“I think we need a long period of very wet weather to find out just how much of the lumber price increases can be passed along to the landowner without forcing the mills into the red,” he said. “I certainly am not hoping for any more hurricanes, but three or four strong and wet tropical storms over the summer and into the fall might bring some cooler weather and a hotter market for Southern landowners later this year and in early 2007.”

F&W Forestry Services, Inc., provides marketing and other forest management services to private timberland owners across the South. F&W timber prices are based on its own timber sales in behalf of landowner clients and other marketing data drawn from its 13 regional offices in eight states from Virginia to Texas, encompassing the region’s main commercial forested areas. F&W reports the price information quarterly through its newsletter distributed to clients, subscribers, and the news media.

Mr. Thomas welcomes any questions you may have and may be contacted at:229-883-0505 or For other information contact: Bates Associates at or (770) 451-0370.


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