But the demand for hardwood isn't likely to subside, in spite of the availability of inexpensive softwoods. Slow-growing hardwoods will slowly migrate north, eventually covering far northern and hard-to-access areas, such as boreal forests.
"We assume demand for hardwood timber continues to rise over time, and consumers are likely to benefit from lower prices," Sohngen said. "Early financial losses in northern regions are eventually offset by the maturation of softwood forests, but not enough to make up for the interim loss."
In the long run - after 100 years or so - an increase in timber production in northern and southern regions will likely increase the annual growth of marketable timber by raising global net production.
Still, most of the growth in harvestable timber will occur in non-indigenous plantations in the tropics, Sohngen said.
"The tropics can react more quickly to climate change than temperate zones can," he said. "Also, it costs relatively little to convert poor agricultural land - which is more common in the tropics - into a successful timber plantation. Trends are headed toward places that can establish fast-growing timber plantations -- places like Brazil, Argentina and South Africa."