Slow Recovery Predicted for Forestry After Difficult Year
The US forestry sector is estimated to have lost an estimated $1.1 billion in 2020. Timber prices remained low despite an increase in lumber prices because of an oversupply of timber and analysts have predicted that low timber prices could remain for five to seven years. In 2020, forestry and logging firms have dealt with sawmill closures and labor shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some US states, the industry saw a 30% drop in revenue which led the American Loggers Council to call on the federal government to provide financial assistance to the forestry industry.
It is reported that an economic stimulus package passed in December could provide up to $200 million in relief for loggers and forest product truckers that have seen a decrease in gross revenue of at least 10% in 2020. Another challenge facing the forestry industry is the growing importance of sustainable practices to combat deforestation. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) the clearing of forest land can displace species of animals into new areas which could increase the risk of new diseases emerging. The WWF has called on governments and corporations to make fighting deforestation a priority for 2021.
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