Forest Markets Reports to WI Council on Forestry

Check out what was covered in the January WI Council on Forestry Meeting...

“Inflation matters” was the main theme in reports by Forest Data Network to the Wisconsin Council on Forestry in January, and the Wisconsin DNR reported a strong “sell rate” from timberland that it manages for County, Fish and Wildlife and State Forests from 2010-2023.

A Forest Data Network presentation focused on real price trends from 2017-2023: Did stumpage prices keep pace with inflation for a range of forest species? Both the FDN and DNR data showed strong long-term pine pricing, particularly for red pine.

However, most sawlog species showed real price decreases for the six-year period that ended in 2023 in the FDN database (which has stumpage index prices going back over 10 years). In addition to pine, prices were strong enough to exceed inflation for white oak and aspen sawlogs. (Real prices reflect price data with inflation removed.)

Doug Brown of the Wisconsin DNR reported consistent volume trends in its sales from state and county forest lands over the period from 2010. The long-term trend showed a consistently high percentage of harvest volume that had been established that was sold — (93-94%). The total county forest volume followed a trend line of 920,000 cord equivalents over that period.

However, 2023 was a tough year with lower demand for wood from county forests, the state's largest block of public forest land. Several mills shut intermittently for weeks due to slack demand for paper and other products. Also, there was a notable increase in “no bid” auctions reported. In this environment county forest dollar revenues reported by the DNR in 2023 declined over 20% from 2022, Brown reported.

Forest Data Network index prices reflected fewer sales of lower volume hardwood species being reported in 2023 than in 2017. Meanwhile, mixed hardwood prices for sawlogs and cordwood declined markedly over the period.

The Council on Forestry is gathering information as it considers measures that would assist in maintaining private forests as forestland as the forest economic environment shifts in the state.

(Forest Data Network maintains a huge database on stumpage pricing from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. It is available by a cloud-based subscription to the database and in quarterly reports for 28 regions in the three states. Get DATA here: https://www.forestdatanetwork.... )

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