- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon’s timber harvest decreased slightly last year, ending a four-year run of gains that began after the Great Recession, the state Department of Forestry said Wednesday.

The 4.13 billion board feet harvested in 2014 represents a 1.7 percent decline from the year before. It was, however, the second consecutive year of more than 4 billion board feet, a total Oregon had not seen since 2006.

The state hit a recession low of 2.7 billion board feet in 2009. It takes 10,000 board feet to build a roughly 1,800-square-foot house.

The Forestry Department said in its annual harvest report it doesn’t expect a big change in 2015. Brandon Kaetzel, a top economist at the department, said several issues will likely keep the harvest from rising, including reduced port access, a challenging export market and housing starts not reaching the levels some expected.

Sixty percent of Oregon’s forest land is federal. Industrial and family owned lands comprise another 34 percent and the rest is divided between entities such as the state, counties and tribes.

Percentage-wise, the largest harvest spikes in 2014 were on U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands west of the Cascades, boosted by salvage logging from the Douglas Complex fire, and on U.S. Forest Service lands east of the Cascades.

The private industry harvest declined 5 percent, the report states, and the harvest on Native American forestland dropped 14 percent - from 66 million board feet to 57 million board feet.

Douglas County, in the southwestern part of the state, replaced neighboring Lane County as the state’s top producer in timber volume. Both topped more than 600 million board feet.

Klamath County harvested the most timber east of the Cascade Range, with 103 million board feet.

Though Oregon’s harvest has increased since the recession, it’s far less than what it was before environmental issues such as the spotted owl prompted sharp cutbacks in logging on federal lands

Oregon’s largest timber harvest was 9.74 billion board feet in 1972. It has not exceeded 5 billion since 1993.

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Follow Steven DuBois at http://twitter.com/pdxdub .

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