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Examination of Lumber Price Trends for Major Hardwood Species

William G. Luppold, Matthew S. Bumgardner

Abstract


Over the last 40 years, trends in interspecies and intergrade hardwood lumber prices have been erratic. In the early 1960s, high- and midgrade hard maple commanded high prices while red oak was the least valuable lumber regardless of grade. In the 1980s, high- and midgrade oak prices surged, but prices of all grades of maple and yellow-poplar declined. During the 1990s, maple prices increased in all grades while the price of oak increased only in the lower grades. It is important to understand changes in interspecies and intergrade pricing as well as the market forces causing these changes because lumber price reflects the use of these products relative to availability. In turn, relative utilization is used to evaluate and justify the relevance of emerging research problem areas. This paper examines changes in the interspecies prices for the major grades of hardwood lumber and relates these changes to species preferences, end markets, manufacturing processes, and sawtimber supply.

Keywords


Price variability;hardwood lumber;fashion trends

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