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Why Study Timber Markets and Wood Baskets?

The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “When we want to understand something, we cannot just stand outside and observe it.”[1] Rather, to understand something, we study it. We invest time, ask questions, and evaluate evidence. We must engage. As Hanh observes, “there is no other way…”

We study things to understand them and make choices. In forestry, systematic frameworks and proven processes help us analyze and compare timber markets and wood baskets to make operational and capital investment decisions. This captures the heart of what we do at Forisk through our research, education, and consulting.

Recently, our team completed a comprehensive analysis and ranking of regional timber markets. Forisk’s 2022 Market Rankings Study divides the U.S. South and Pacific Northwest into operable timber markets based on bottom-up analysis of softwood demand centers and wood flows. The research scores timber markets based on supply and demand and key risks to timberland investors and wood consumers.

Most day-to-day decisions in the forest industry affect operational activities and tactical moves required to run businesses and lead teams. However, a small number of choices related to strategy and capital deployment in timberlands and wood-using facilities set in motion investments that commit the firm for years and decades. Where do we prioritize our timberland acquisition activities? Where do we add, buy, or upgrade our wood-using capacity? This Study supports those discussions and decisions.

Our Timber Market Analysis (TMA) class teaches a process and set of tools for those looking to engage with the data more directly. The philosopher Seneca said, “Without a ruler to do it against, you can’t make crooked straight.” His words remind us of the importance of useful frameworks, benchmarks, and values against which we test ideas and make decisions.

The TMA process prioritizes questions, aggregates data, conducts analysis and communicates results and recommendations. This process has evolved through hundreds of engagements and dozens of research studies focused on breaking down local wood baskets and timber markets for a range of questions. It relies on available inputs and consistently applied analytical frameworks.

Timber markets have life cycles that vary relative to each other. Systematic frameworks and proven processes, whether applied through comparative studies or taught in educational workshops, can mitigate unwelcome risk and identify slivers of advantage associated with our forestry investments.

For more information about the 2022 North American Timber Market Rankings Study or the available data package of market-level supply forecasts, visit Forisk’s website or contact: Heather Clark, hsclark@forisk.com, 770.725.8447.

Interested in learning a process for tracking and analyzing the price, demand, supply and competitive dynamics of local timber markets and wood baskets? Register here for Forisk’s 2022 “Timber Market Analysis” class, offered virtually via Live Zoom on November 16th and 17th. Early registration ends November 2nd 


[1] From Thich Nhat Hahn’s 1991 book “Peace is Every Step

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