Urbanization of forestland has the potential to reduce the timberland base indefinitely. Wood-using industry located in areas with declining timberlands may be forced to expand the range of procurement operations to meet production requirements. This article examines 11 different land use and land cover variables as predictors of woodshed area for sawmills in the northeastern United States. Based on woodshed maps provided by 175 sawmills in seven states, geospatial analysis and multiple regression are used to test the hypothesis that mills in areas with higher proportions of nontimber land have larger woodsheds. Results indicate that mill characteristics, not landscape variables, are the strongest predictors of woodshed area. Although some cover types, including farmland and open water, are associated with larger woodsheds, none of the measures of urbanization used in this study are significant predictors of woodshed area. If urbanization is leading to a reduced flow of sawlogs, the explanation for the lack of observed effects of urban cover on woodshed area may be tied to the flow of sawlogs from terminal harvests, prior relocation of sawmills out of urbanizing areas, or the implementation of alternative procurement and production strategies that help sawmills remain competitive as local wood supplies tighten.

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Author notes

The authors are, respectively, Postdoctoral Research Forester, Univ. of Montana and USDA-FS Rocky Mountain Research Sta., Missoula, Montana ([email protected]); and Associate Professor, Faculty of Forest and Natural Resources Management, SUNY College of Environmental Sci. and Forestry, Syracuse, New York ([email protected]). This paper was received for publication in April 2009. Article no. 10616

*Forest Products Society member.