Sawmill industry in Tennessee: Assessing location pattern changes and their effects on sawlog procurement distribution
Within the southern US forest products industry, the sawmill sector has experience a high rate of mill exits. Between 1999 and 2011, the number of operating sawmills dropped by 77%. However, average mill sawlog consumption increased during the same period. Changes in the number and consumption capacity of sawmills pose questions related to resulting shifts in the spatial distribution of active sawmills in Tennessee for 1999 and 2011. We also investigated the effect of new location patterns on roundwood production across the state. Mill information was obtained from the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Timber Products Output program survey of primary wood-using mills. The analysis revealed significant changes in the location of active mills and the areas supplying them. Tennessee’s sawmill industry shifted from a random distribution of wood demand originating from mills scattered across the state to clear localization patterns.