Lumber industry ponders supply

Unless someone finds some available timberland, there won't be enough lumber for the housing boom in the 1980s. The US is facing a critical shortage of available timberland for logging, if it expects to satisfy the demand anticipated for new housing starts in the coming decade, Purchasing World magazine says.

While the demand for lumber dropped 3.1 billion board feet in 1979, the price remained stable and is expected to rise sharply as more new homes are built.

The problem is said to be traceable to two government studies called Roadless Area Review and Evaluation. for the past 10 years, 62 million acres of Western timberland were protected as the result of the studies, and left untouched by loggers.The government was to examine the acreage and determine whether it should become the permanent domain of the government or given back to the logging industry.

Two such studies are completed and the government is slowly allowing small parcels of land to be used for loggers, but millions more acres of timberland must be freed, says the lumbering industry.

One possible solution is a proposal to encourage small landowners in the South to more intensively manage their areas for logging use.

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