It surprises many to learn that California has a hardwood resource. California, one of the nation’s most forested states, is well known for its majestic coastal redwood and giant sequoia softwood species. It is also one of the nation’s leading producers of commercial lumber including Douglas-fir, white fir, ponderosa pine, and many other softwood species.
The California Hardwood Resource
However, the California forests are also home to about 25 billion cubic feet of hardwoods, that’s one fourth of the total forest tree volume in the state. These hardwood trees – primarily California black oak, Oregon white oak, tanoak, madrone, and the live oaks of the coastal regions, inland valleys and foothills – are found in the vast forestlands and rangelands of the state. Add to this a sizable stock of both indigenous and exotic trees in urban areas and it becomes difficult to ignore the California hardwood resource.
As California is also the nation’s leading consumer of hardwood lumber and products it would logically follow that it is also a leading producer of hardwood lumber. But that is not the case. Of the 100 million board feet of hardwood lumber used in California each year only about 5% is produced locally from the California resource.
Past UC Forest Products Laboratory projects included evaluation and utilization of wood from trees killed by Sudden Oak Death (SOD) and the Hardwood Handbook below. Reports and presentations are available for download below. They summarize projects that dealt with examining the potential for more hardwood processing in California and providing recommendations on milling and drying to produce high quality hardwood products.
Air drying milled lumber
6MBF Koetter Dry Kiln - tanoak lumber
Tanoak hardwood flooring
Check out the California Hardwoods video below for an introduction to some of the issues regarding utilization of California grown hardwoods. Find Part Two of the series here.