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Mission and Goals

The Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) develops forest sector market models for application to forest resource assessments in the South, U.S., and the World. SOFAC modelers and members will be able to use the SOFAC suite of models and research to simultaneously project timber inventory, supply, and prices for a variety of regions and a variety of timber products across the South. SOFAC will continue cooperative university-industry-public agency cooperation in southern and national forest sector economic modeling, enhancing graduate instruction in forest economics and modeling.

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2021 Annual Meeting & Updates

  • The 2021 Annual SOFAC Meeting will take place on August 9th-10th in a hybrid in-person and online setting. In-person attendees will  For more information about the meeting content, please contact the SOFAC Director (justinbaker@ncsu.edu) or the meeting coordinator, Kelley McCarter, Kelley_McCarter@ncsu.edu.

Models

The core SOFAC modeling framework  is the SubRegional Timber Supply (SRTS) Model, which is a bio-economic model that integrates forest inventory and analysis data and economic principles to estimate inventory, supply, demand, and price trends.

SOFAC integrates currently available forest resource data from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and economic theory to model timber supply, demand, and prices in the South by local area; analyze the status of southern timber supply periodically; and analyze the impacts of new market and policy factors on timber supply.

Models that are linked to SRTS include modules that periodically collect and update the USDA Forest Service FIA data. Further, SRTS is linked to other economic frameworks that provide important data elements, including projections of:

  • Land use change,
  • Pine plantation responses to price changes,
  • Timber demand and removals, and
  • Climate impacts on forest productivity.

This suite of models is then used to project timber supply at the regional to local level under a range of economic and policy scenarios in the South, with occasional applications in the Northeast and Midwest.

In addition to SRTS, SOFAC affiliates work with a wide range of economic modeling tools, ranging from spatially explicit frameworks to global models of forest product markets and land use. These models include:

SOFAC affiliates also perform timber investment and production economics studies are performed periodically with graduate students, including analysis of global timber investments, logging capacity, biomass harvesting contracts, and timber market structure.

Applications

SOFAC affiliates have completed recent studies on topics such as new forest products processing capacity or closures, growth and removal cycles, wood chip demand, bioenergy, wood pellets, and drivers of land use change. We are actively modeling the market and resource implications of using more roundwood for bioenergy (including the impact of state, federal, and EU policies); the effects of holding more sawtimber for longer periods; evaluating the effects of carbon policies on southern U.S. forests; and assessing the impacts of forest market structure on timberland investments.

Recent research efforts led by SOFAC faculty affiliates cover the following topics:

People

Justin S. Baker, Director of SOFAC and Associate Professor of Forest Resource Economics

David Rossi, SOFAC Research Associate

Robert Abt, Principal SRTS Developer and Professor of Forest Economics

Kelley McCarter, 2021 SOFAC Meeting Coordinator

Graduate Students:

Gaurav Dhungel, NCSU FER

Madisen Fuller, NCSU FER

Olakunle Sodiya, NCSU FER

Recent Publications from SOFAC Affiliates

Rossi, D., Zhai, J., Kuusela, O.-P. 2021. Measuring the Value of Softwood Log Exports: Evidence from Oregon. Journal of Forestry 119(4): 351-362.

Austin, K., Baker, J. S., Sohngen, B. L., Wade, C., Ragnauth, S., Ohrel, S. (2020). The economic costs of planting, preserving, and managing the world’s forests for climate change mitigation. Nature Communications. 11(1): 1-9.

Cubbage, Frederick, Bob Abt, Rajan Parajuli, Jesse Henderson, and Bruno Kanieski. 2019. Southern timber markets and prospects. National Woodlands 42(1):25-29, Winter 2019.

Cubbage, Frederick, Bruno Kanieski, Rafael Rubilar, Adriana Bussoni, Virginia Morales, Gustavo Balmelli, Patrio MacDonagh, Roger Lord, Carmelo Hernández, Pu Zhang, Jin Huang, Jaana Korhonen, Richard Yao, Peter Hall, Rafael De La Torre, Luiz Balteiro, Omar Carrero, Elizabeth Monges, Ha Tran Thi Thu, Greg Frey, Mike Howard, Michael Chavet, Shaun Mochan, Vitor Hoeflich, Rafal Chudy, Stephanie Chizmar, and Robert Abt. 2020. Global timber investments, 2005-2017. Forest Policy and Economics Special Issue on Forest Investments. 112 (2020) 102802.

Henderson, J. D., Parajuli, R., Abt, R. C. 2020. Biological and market responses of pine forests in the US Southeast to carbon fertilization. Ecological Economics. Vol. 169.

Mac Donagh, Patricio, Joshua Roll, George Hahn, and Frederick Cubbage. 2019. Timber harvesting production, costs, innovation, and capacity in the Southern Cone and the U.S. South. Chapter in: Timber Buildings and Sustainability. Intech Open Press. ISBN# 978-1-78923-882-2. 5 December 2019.

Nepal, Prakash, Karen L Abt, Kenneth E Skog, Jeffrey P Prestemon, and Robert C Abt. 2019. Projected Market Competition for Wood Biomass between Traditional Products and Energy: A Simulated Interaction of US Regional, National, and Global Forest Product Markets. Forest Science 65 (1):14-26. https://doi.org/10.1093/forsci/fxy031

Abt, K. L., Abt, R. C., & Galik, C. 2012. Effect of bioenergy demands and supply response on markets, carbon, and land use. Forest Science 58(5):523-539.

Abt, R. C., Cubbage, F. W., & Abt, K. L. 2009. Projecting southern timber supply for multiple products by subregion. Forest Products Journal 59(7-8):7-16.