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Increased demand for wood did not deplete forests in the US South; instead, it encouraged landowners to invest in productivity improvements that dramatically increased the amount of wood fiber, and therefore the amount of carbon, contained in the South’s forests.

Since the middle of the twentieth century, the amount of timberland-unreserved, productive forest land-in the US South has remained stable, increasing by about 3 percent between 1953 and 2015. During this period, economic growth and increased construction spurred consumer demand for forest products, which led timber harvests-or removals-to increase 57 percent. Yet over this same period, the amount of wood fiber-or inventory-stored in Southern forests increased 108 percent.

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