North American hardwood sawmills reduced capacity 6% from 2020 to 2022 by closing or changing species; Southern output declined most, as mills shifted towards softwood species and expanded pine sawtimber consumption: Forisk

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WATKINSVILLE, Georgia , March 2, 2023 (press release) –

Hardwood sawmills in North America reduced capacity 6% from 2020 to 2022 by closing or changing species, according to data from Forisk’s North American Forest Industry Capacity Database (“Mill Database”). Southern mills declined the most, as mills shifted towards softwood species and expanded pine sawtimber consumption, which was less expensive and easier to procure than hardwood. Amanda Lang, Forisk’s Vice President of Client Services, notes, “We expanded our coverage of the hardwood sawmill sector in Q4 2022 to include mills down to 5 MMBF in size. The expansion added 257 hardwood sawmills and over 1.4 BBF of capacity to the Mill Database.”
Analysis of hardwood mills and markets is difficult as these mills are often smaller and owned by more firms than other mill types, according to Shawn Baker, Forisk’s Vice President of Research. “Hardwood sawmills in the Mill Database have the capacity to produce over 7 BBFT of lumber annually,” Dr. Baker said. “The expansion of our database lets subscribers track this industry, which is important to local wood markets.” Forisk’s Mill Database now tracks over 570 hardwood and mixed species sawmills across Canada and the U.S.

Forisk’s North American Forest Industry Capacity Database compiles mill capacity for softwood and hardwood lumber, structural panels (OSB and plywood), engineered wood products, pulp, veneer, wood pellets, and chip mills by region across five North American geographies – U.S. North, U.S. South, U.S. West, Eastern Canada, and Western Canada. The underlying data, which is updated quarterly, includes mill-by-mill details for over 2,200 facilities, including location, mill type, wood use estimates, and species, with ownership and capacity data by year for 2011-2022 and estimates for 2023 and 2024. The Q1 2023 release highlights changes to 126 mills in the database documented over the last three months, including the addition of 24 mills.
For more information or to subscribe to Forisk’s Mill Database, contact: Heather Clark,, 770.725.8447.

About Forisk Consulting: Forisk delivers forecasts and analysis of forest industry markets and timberland investments. Firms participate in Forisk’s research program by subscribing to the Forisk Research Quarterly (FRQ), Forisk Wood Fiber Review, Forisk Market Bulletin, or the North American Forest Industry Capacity Database; supporting benchmarking studies related to forest operations and mill capacities; and attending educational workshops and the annual “Wood Flows & Cash Flows” conference.

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