The shortage of seedlings at conifer nurseries is a result of underplanting, not increased demand for the end product, said Terry Smith, seedling sales manager at Weyerhaeuser.

"When customer demand decreased the past couple of years, nurseries were left with a lot of unsold stock they had to destroy," he said. "They were reluctant to plant more on speculation."

Demand is starting to pick up in replanting, he said, but that's due mainly to heavier mortality in recently established plantations. "There's a long lag period between nursery starts and harvest."

-- Steve Brown

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