Home construction in California is on the upswing as the housing market slowly recovers from the dramatic downturn of the recession that saw home prices and new construction plummet.

Going hand in hand with the increase in home building is the demand for lumber for framing, moldings, doors, fences and other uses. California timber producers say they welcome the increased demand for lumber, but are held back by the regulatory climate in the state that cuts into their bottom line.

As a result of added costs and restrictions on timber harvest, California forestry owners say they have difficulty competing with their counterparts in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia who work in a more business-friendly climate. An estimated two-thirds of the building materials utilized in California comes from the Pacific Northwest and Canada’s westernmost province.

“Lumber production in California has dramatically fallen off from where we were a couple decades ago,” said Mark Pawlicki, director of corporate affairs for Sierra Pacific Industries in Anderson. “We are harvesting around 1.4 billion board-feet of timber now in California, and that is less than half of what it used to be. A lot of the fallout has been because of the reduction in sales of timber in national forests. It is a combination of regulations involved and a philosophical change within the U.S. Forest Service that occurred back the 1990s.”

Timber owner Peter Bradford of Booneville, who serves as board liaison to the California Farm Bureau Federation Forestry Advisory Committee, said the high cost of regulations “adds a substantial amount” to the price of California timber.

From AgAlert: http://agalert.com/story/?id=6828