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The Graphic Truth: Canadian lumber production ... in the US

A bar graph of the increase in Canada's investment in the US lumber industry

A bar graph of the increase in Canada's investment in the US lumber industry

Ari Winkleman

Canada’s forestry sector has faced increasing pressure thanks to climate change. Ottawa has long supported its lumber industry, whose leaders see themselves as the natural low-cost producers in North America, much to the US producers’ dismay. The US has accused Canada of unfairly propping up its lumber industry, making their product cheaper and more competitive in the US market. In response, the US imposed what Canada considered “unwarranted duties” on softwood trade in 2021.

Fast forward to today: Canada’s forests have suffered major losses from severe wildfires, beetle outbreaks, warming temperatures, and floods, forcing the government to crack down on the logging industry and enforce more sustainable practices in Canada. It has also given more rights to First Nations to protect areas from logging. All of this spelled trouble for the Canadian lumber industry, which, as lumber prices soared due to COVID-fueled housing and home renovation boom, didn’t want to miss out on the profits.

Their solution? Move to the US. The five major lumber companies in Canada have drastically increased their investment in sawmills in the US, especially in the American South. We take a look at how Canadian dollars are flowing to forests across the border.


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