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Center for Sustainable Biomaterials & Bioenergy

Hardwood Product Trade

Central Appalachia Wood Trade Market

The Appalachia region is a 200,000 square mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachia mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. The region provides the world with a bounty of the valuable hardwood species such as black cherry, walnut, hard maple and oaks.

2 maps of Appalachian region (1 zoomed out and the other a close-up)

About this map:
The Appalachian region is located in states New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia. Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Located in the central Appalachian region, West Virginia is blessed with abundant forest resources and is the third most forested state in the U.S. with 11.9 million forestlands. About one billion board feet of logs are produced each year. West Virginia’s forests are at least 94% hardwood species. The hardwood resource is large and diverse ranging from oak-hickory forests with extensive quantities of yellow-poplar to northern hardwood stands with significant amounts of hard maple and black cherry (DiGiovanni 1990, USDA Forest Service).

The majority, 83%, of West Virginia’s forests are owned by farmers, individuals and other non-industrial private landowners. The government and wood product companies together own 17%. Currently, more than 80% of the timber harvested in West Virginia comes from nonindustrial private landowners. The forest volume in West Virginia has been increasing, from 18 billion board feet of saw timber in 1949 to 76 billion board feet (West Virginia Forestry Association).


According to USFS timber products output data, a total of 4.8 million cubic meters of roundwood products were produced in 2002. Yellow poplar, red oak, and white oak were the top 3 hardwood species, accounting for 61 percent of the total roundwood production. Yellow poplar is the most abundant hardwood species with nearly 1 million cubic meters.


Today, international trade plays an important role in America’s economy, accounting for more than one-quarter of U.S. gross. Even though West Virginia’s share of U.S. total export value to all the countries is small, about 0.3%, its export value to China as a percentage of state total had increased greatly from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2006 (US Census Bureau). China has become the 4th largest export market for West Virginia following Canada, Japan and Belgium, with total export value of $255 million in 2007 (TradeStats Express™ Home ).


West Virginia wood products export has experienced a peak value of $107.69 million in 2004 and then declined to $77.15 million in 2007. The difference is mainly due to the decrease of exports to Canada. China has emerged as the 2nd largest export destination since 2003 following Canada. From 2002 to 2006, West Virginia wood products exports to China showed a triple increase in terms of export value. In 2007, the exports decreased to $16.97 million. West Virginia has become the 5th largest wood products export state of the U.S. to China, following North Carolina, Washington, Virginia, and New York.