Lost Production from Financial Management

Unmentioned in Oregon politics is the huge loss of timber production by Wall Street driven financial owners. Lost timber production occurs because financial owners cut trees based on the growth of money not on the growth of trees. Financial owners create a race between natural tree growth and money growth using compound interest. Trees lose this race, on highly fertile ground,  at around 50 years. We call forest management based on the growth of invested money financial forestry.

How much timber production is lost due to financial management? In 1994, Forest Service researcher Bob Curtis used multiple tree growth models to find out. His analysis revealed that 20% to 50% of timber production was sacrificed on the alter of Wall Street financial management.

“The estimates presented here indicate that very short rotations [the time between clearcutting] – particularly for stands of low initial density – mean reductions in production per acre per year that vary (according to site, initial stocking, and simulator used) from substantial (c. 20 percent) to large (50% or more).”

Page 23, paragraph 7 of Curtis 1994.

In 2013, 95 percent of Oregon’s total lumber-producing capacity resided in 45 large milling facilities owned by a smaller group of corporate owners.

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