Timber owners to get the ax?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2001

Features Editor

Pulpwood prices are extremely low and there is concern that there could be the same dramatic drop in prices for other timber products, leaving timber owners wondering why and what to expect.

"There are a lot of questions in the minds of timber owners right now," said Carter Sanders, Pike County Chapter president of the Alabama Treasure Forest Association. "Timber prices run in cycles and the fundamentals are changing. We used to supply Europe with timber, now Russia is a supplier. And, the market is more competitive. Ship loads of chips are coming to Alabama from Brazil, so the cycles are changing."

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The bad news for timber owners in that they are in the down cycle and they want answers to the many questions on their minds.

"In an attempt to answer questions timber owners have, the Pike County Chapter of the ATFA is hosting a special Southeast Regional Forestry Economic Summit," Sanders said. "We will bring in a panel of experts to answer any questions concerning the current and future ability for owners to market their timber. The summit will also give timber owners an opportunity to make suggestions that may enhance our future as forest commodity producers."

Sanders said some of the questions that will be addressed include why pulpwood prices are so low, can the same drop in prices be expected for other timber products and what the price of pulp in Asia has to do with the price of timber in Alabama.

"We will also discuss whether current markets will be able to handle all the CRP thinning, beetle damaged timber and normal stand management thinning," Sanders said "We also want to know if we will be able to sell our timber in the future and if anyone is protecting the interest of private forest landowners by seeking out and developing future markets for our products."

Sanders said, with all of the questions before timber owners and few answers to date, the Southeast Regional Forestry Economic Summit should be very beneficial in providing answers to these questions and giving direction to timber owners, for now and in the future.

The Summit will be held Aug. 2 at the Cattlemen’s Expo Center on Highway 231 south of Troy. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting will start at 9 a.m. and adjourn at 2 p.m. There is a $5 fee to cover the expense of the lunch, which will be barbecued chicken and all the trimmings.

"In order for us to make seating and food arrangements, we would like for those planning to attend to notify

the Pike County Extension Office at 566-0985 by July 27,"

Sanders said.

The Summit is organized and sponsored by the Alabama Treasure Forest

Association and the Southeast Region ATFA County Chapters.