Full year sales of $230 million increased $15 million from 2011, while operating income of $46 million was slightly lower. In the Atlantic region, operating income reflects higher prices as 2011 included fire salvage sales, while earnings in the Gulf region increased due to higher volumes from the 2011 acquisitions and higher non-timber income. Offsetting these increases were lower prices in the Northern region and New Zealand due to weaker Asian demand.
Fourth quarter sales of $20 million were $7 million above the prior year period, while operating income of $11 million improved $4 million, primarily due to higher non-strategic timberland volume and prices. Full year sales of $57 million were $14 million below 2011, and operating income of $32 million declined $15 million as 2011 results included a 6,300 acre non-strategic sale at $3,995 per acre and a $6 million property tax settlement covering several prior years.
Fourth quarter sales of $300 million were $19 million above the prior year period, while operating income of $94 million was $17 million higher. Full year sales of $1.1 billion were $73 million above 2011, while operating income of $359 million increased $61 million. For both periods, higher cellulose specialties prices more than offset higher production costs and a decline in absorbent material prices due to market weakness. The 2011 periods were also negatively impacted by a $6 million write-off related to process equipment changes needed for the CSE project.
Wood Products sales of $22 million and $88 million for fourth quarter and full year 2012, improved $4 million and $20 million, respectively, versus the prior year periods. Operating income improved $4 million and $12 million comparing the same periods. The increases were primarily due to higher prices. Recently, Rayonier announced the sale of its Wood Products business for $80 million, with closing expected in the first quarter.