In 1990, Europe, North America, and the Asian democracies of Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea (JTK) were the major export markets for U.S. hardwood lumber and oak species accounted for 59 percent of total exports. In the 1990s, shipments to Europe and North America increased, while shipments to JTK declined. During the early 2000s, exports to China and Vietnam (CHV) increased. The worldwide recession of 2009 caused exports to decline in all regions, and oak species accounted for 37 percent of total shipments that year. Since 2010, CHV has become the most important export market for all species except maple. In 2020, oak species accounted for 43 percent of total export volume, and walnut ranked third in value of shipments. An examination of imputed prices found that exports tend to be composed of mid- to higher-quality hardwood lumber. Since 1997, real prices of exported lumber have declined for most species, and this decline occurred concurrently with increased U.S. sawtimber volume. In the 1990s, increased exports expanded the market for domestically produced hardwood lumber. Since the early 2000s, increased lumber exports have partially countered reduced domestic demand and have acted as a hedge against greater declines in overall demand for U.S. hardwood lumber.

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