California Timber Yield Tax Volume and Value Trends

Historical BOE Timber Harvest Data by County, Bioregion, Timber Value Area, Species

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July 25, 2012

Data provided and summaries approved by the California State Board of Equalization.

Jim Spero, Fire Economist
Fire and Resource Assessment Program
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
PO Box 944246, Sacramento, CA 94244
916-324-7185 FAX (916) 327-1180


The California Board of Equalization administers the Timber Yield Tax program, which sets the harvest value of timber and collects an in lieu tax when it is harvested. The revenue from this program is allocated to the counties where the timber was harvested).

Official statistics are found at the BOE Timber Yield Tax website, which presents tables of annual timber harvest volume and harvest value, by county, starting with the 1994 tax year. In addition, annual statewide totals are provided for tax year 1978 and later (see

Value Added: The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program (FRAP) summarizes annual timber harvest data files transmitted electronically from BOE each year. To facilitate trend analysis, summaries include Value and Volume (MBF) statewide, and by county, county-based Bioregion, Timber Value Area (TVA) for the years 1984 through 2011. Species, and Species by TVA tables are available for the years 2000 through 2011. Species charts are also available individually by year. 

Caveat: Summaries may vary from data published on the BOE website because updates to the database may not be reflected in those summaries.

Statewide Trends

VOLUME: A generally downward trend began after a high point in 1988 of about 4.7 million MBF. The average annual volume between 1985 and 1994 was about 3.8 million MBF (thousand board feet). In the next ten year period, volume dropped by 47% to a little under 2 million MBF. In the most recent ten year period (2005-2011) average annual volume was just 37 percent of that for 1985-1994. However, the last two years has seen a short reverse in this direction. Absent a change in federal policy with regard to timber harvest on public lands, harvest on private lands will probably continue to drive the overall domestic supply stream. Economics and regulatory policies will continue to drive the level of harvesting on private lands.

VALUE: Tax value reached a high point in 1993, at about 1.3 billion dollars. A period of decline over the following five year briefly reversed then fell to just over $400 million in 2002. After another few years of increase there was a slow falling off ending in a low of about $99.3 million in 2009. Value climbed in 2010 and 2011, as did volume increases. It is interesting to note that high harvest levels do not necessarily translate into high tax revenues. For example, the value peak in 1993 misses the volume peak by five years. This is not surprising: value differs substantially among species harvested.

The bottom in 2009 may be due to

1. the overall U.S. economy, housing market, financial crisis, etc., and

2. the massive amount of log inventory arriving at mills as a result of wildfires in 2008 (mills that were already well stocked due to #1 above).

The uptick in 2010 and 2011 probably would not have been so pronounced had there been no fire salvage volume in 08-09 (i.e., the bottom wouldn’t have been as deep).  But the primary factor in the California log market in 2010-11 was the export market to China. This seemed to have a ripple effect throughout the state (and into Oregon) that affected mainly TF and DF for a period of about 18 months or so.  This has since leveled off; the Chinese economy is stagnating a bit and the export market has dried up.  As fast as it appeared, it is now gone.

Tables and Charts:

All of the Tables and Charts from this project are contained in the following Excel document. In order to view the document with full macro and pivot table functionality you must have Microsoft Excel 7 or 10. You can also download and install a free Excel Viewer from the Microsoft website, but pivot tables may not have full functionality.

BOE_timber_tax_summary_2011 (Excel 2007 Document; 561kb) ( to download, right-click and select "Save Target As").


Summary Charts:


The State of California and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of data. The user will not seek to hold the State or the Department liable under any circumstances for any damages with respect to any claim by the user or any third party on account of or arising from the use of data. The user will cite the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the California Board of Equalization  as the original source of the data, but will clearly denote cases where the original data have been updated, modified, or in any way altered from the original condition. There are no restrictions on distribution of the data by users. However, users are encouraged to refer others to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to acquire the data, in case updated data become available.